The Brooklyn Nets’ season ended Saturday night in front of their home fans as they lost to the Chicago Bulls 99-93. The Nets trailed by as much as 17 in the first half and cut Chicago’s lead down to as few as 4 points, but just could not complete the comeback. Deron Williams led the Nets with 24 points and 7 assists. Joakim Noah and Marco Belinelli each scored 24 points for Chicago.
The first quarter was close throughout. The Nets finished the quarter down 29-25, mainly due to Joakim Noah, who had 10 points and 5 rebounds, all offensive. Deron Williams was great for the Nets with 9 points and 3 assists, including a very pretty transition pass to Gerald Wallace. The Nets were badly outrebounded in the quarter, and that was the main reason they were trailing.
The second quarter was a very bad one for the Nets. Again they got badly outrebounded and were really not playing with any passion at all. Joakim Noah had another great scorer and the Nets couldn’t get any stops on defense. The Bulls had their biggest lead of the game at halftime, up 61-44.
Third quarters have been a problem for the Nets all season, but tonight that wasn’t the case. The Nets responded from their terrible first half by outscoring Chicago 31-21 in the third quarter to cut the Bulls’ lead to 7 points. Gerald Wallace led the charge with his hustle and shot-making. He made three 3-pointers in the quarter to go along with a couple of big dunks. The Nets were still alive as the fourth quarter started.
In the fourth quarter, the Nets just couldn’t get over the hump and come back. They got within as few as 5 points, but Chicago had an answer for every Brooklyn mini-run. Marco Belinelli made free throws down the stretch and Chicago hung on to win the game.
Obviously, I have a lot more to say about this game and season. Expect lots more posts in the coming days.
For a box score of this game, click here.
Player grades and notes:
Reggie Evans: B
Reggie gave the Nets some energy in the third quarter and brought them back into the game. But he still couldn’t guard Carlos Boozer and still did nothing on offense.
Gerald Wallace: A-
Wallace had the game the Nets needed from him tonight, scoring 19 points, his highest total in a long, long time. He was also key in the third quarter run and he made three 3’s in the game.
Brook Lopez: C
Lopez had his worst defensive game of the series by far tonight. He could not stop Joakim Noah at all and was not getting any defensive rebounds over Noah, although he did have 8 offensive rebounds and 9 rebounds total. On offense, he was not aggressive at all and most of his points came from easy tip-ins at the rim off of missed shots. He created very little for himself on offense.
Deron Williams: B+
Deron did everything he could to keep the Nets in this game, but he could have used SOME help from his backcourt mate. He finished the game with 24 points and 7 assists and this loss was not his fault.
Joe Johnson: F
Johnson was just awful tonight. He killed momentum by missing shots and was just 2-14 from the field. He missed lots of open looks which would have allowed the Nets to come back and win. This loss WAS his fault.
C.J. Watson: C-
Watson was pretty ineffective off the bench and only scored 5 points. He did not make much of an impact at all.
Andray Blatche: C+
Blatche was not nearly as good as he was in game 6 and he disappeared in the fourth quarter. Still, this guy is a minimum salary guy and he can’t be blamed.
The Nets’ season is over. We won’t see them on the court again until next October.