The Brooklyn Nets have battled back from being down 3 games to 1 to the Chicago Bulls and have now tied the series at 3 with only game 7 remaining Saturday night in Brooklyn.
As I wrote about earlier, this is only the second game 7 in the history of the Nets’ franchise and they will be going for their first ever win. They will also be going for their first playoff series victory since 2007 when they beat Toronto in the first round. It will obviously be the first playoff victory since the team moved to Brooklyn. After the game 6′s on Friday night, Nets-Bulls will be the only game 7 of the first round of the playoffs.
The Nets have to be confident heading into this game as they try to be only the 9th team in NBA history to win a series after trailing 3-1. Brooklyn is coming off a 3-point victory in Chicago, which wasn’t always pretty, but a win is a win. In that game, each of the Nets’ big 3 of Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, and Joe Johnson scored 17 points.
The key for the Nets tonight will be getting a balanced effort from their big-name players on offense and a collectively better effort on defense. Along with the big 3, Gerald Wallace has been one of the keys for the Nets in the series. If he can score around 12 or 15 points, the Nets will be in great shape to win the game. If he scores under 5, the Nets may be in trouble. Defensively, the Nets just need to play smarter. They can’t give up 3-point plays or offensive rebounds as they did in game 6.
Here are the injury updates for game 7. For the Nets, Joe Johnson’s foot continues to bother him, but there is no chance he misses a game. Andray Blatche is feeling better than he did prior to game 6. Every player on the 15-man roster is cleared to play in game 7. For Chicago, it is more complicated. Although he has not officially been ruled out as of now, Derrick Rose will not play. Luol Deng is also doubtful for the game after spending part of his days on Thursday and Friday in the emergency room. He did not fly to Brooklyn with the team on Friday, but there is a small chance he will fly over by himself Saturday morning if something changes with his illness. Meanwhile, Nate Robinson and Taj Gibson are both feeling better after they were sick on Thursday and Joakim Noah’s foot is clearly not bothering him much anymore.
This has been a nearly impossible series to predict, but I’m going to say that the Nets find a way to win game 7 at home in a close, nail-biter type of game, 101-99.
The game starts at 8 pm and will be televised on both TNT and YES. Go Nets!