Nets brimming with confidence heading to Game 7

Nets brimming with confidence heading to Game 7
May 3, 2013, 12:15 am
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Tony Andracki

Momentum is a funny thing in the world of sports.

When you have it, you will do anything to hold on to it. When you don't, you'll do anything to acquire it.

After a thrilling triple-overtime win over the Nets in front of their home crowd in Game 4, the Bulls were riding high, sitting in the driver's seat with a 3-1 lead in the series.

But five days later, things have changed. Now, the Nets hold the advantage.

With back-to-back hard-fought wins, the Nets have tied the series up at three games apiece and the two teams head back to Brooklyn for a deciding Game 7.

[MORE: Undermanned Bulls can't put away Nets in Game 6]

"We really took the perspective of looking at it one game at a time," Nets big man Brook Lopez said. "Obviously, each game could have been our last, so we played it that way. We played with a really big sense of urgency and we got good results."

Of course, the Bulls were incredibly short-handed Thursday night, with starters Kirk Hinrich and Luol Deng out due to injury and illness, respectively. Deng was so sick he was actually sent home, while key players Taj Gibson and Nate Robinson were also limited due to illness.

[RELATED: Deng sent home before Game 6]

The Nets came out firing on all cylinders in the first half Thursday night, shooting 55.8 percent from the field and putting up 60 points against a normally stout Bulls defense. Williams (14 points), Joe Johnson (13) and Lopez (12) led the way.

But the Bulls made some adjustments at halftime and held the Nets to just 27.8 percent shooting in the second half. The same veteran trio combined for just 12 points on 3-of-17 shooting.

"We didn't play well at all offensively [in the second half]," Williams said. "I couldn't get going, Joe couldn't get going. A lot of [our success] was our defenese.

"They were paying a lot of attention to us. We didn't have that same space that we did in the first half. I think we can play a lot better than we did."

Brooklyn is expecting more of the same in Game 7.

"[It's gonna be the] same exact thing," Nets forward Reggie Evans said. "It's going to be a physical game from the start. It's a matter of just being physical and staying poised and keeping our composure for the whole fourth quarter.

"Just finding ways to pull it out. They tweaked a couple things today, but we still managed to find a way to get a win."

The fifth-seeded Bulls failed to close out the series in front of their home crowd, so now they will have to head on the road for the finale, which could prove to be a daunting task.

"We're gonna do our best to put a big old smile on our fans' faces when we're done playing there after Game 7," Evans said.

[RELATED: What a difference a week makes for the Nets]

Williams concurred, knowing a matchup with the Miami Heat is awaiting the winner of Saturday's contest.

"It's gonna be a lot of fun," the University of Illinois product said. "Hopefully, it's going to be a hostile environment from our crowd. We're going to need them.

"We want to win it. That's the most important thing. We want to win it for our fans and for us and go down to South Beach."