Playoffs Game #3, Series #1 Recap: Bulls 79, Nets 76. The One Where the Shots Didn’t Fall, Again

MarShon played 12 minutes in Game 3, which was about 20 less than he should have. Also, he posted a +10 +/- in that timespan as well. You can change this for Game 4, PJ


I wasn't able to catch the beginning of the latest Nets' debacle–which happened tonight in Chicago vs a hungry Bulls team–but I watched the middle and end, which were equal parts excruciatingly painful and informative. Brooklyn jumped out to a quick 17-5 lead to open up the night, but didn't score in the 1st after the 6:24 mark, allowing the Bulls to rip off a 14-0 run to take the advantage after 12 minutes. 

Scoring just 17 points in both quarters of the 1st half (leading up to a 41-34 Bulls lead at halftime), the Nets were horrendously inept on the offensive end of the floor, shooting just 28 percent from the floor and 29 percent from three in the game's first 36 minutes, to go along with a deficit of seven rebounds when compared to the totals of their opponent. 

Then, in the 4th quarter, the Nets were able to pick it up a little bit as MarShon Brooks finally entered the game. Brooks, who has been a forgotten man so far in the playoffs, showed promise in Game 2 and played well again tonight, clearly improving the team's ball movement on offense as soon as he entered the game. As Brooklyn was able to get better shots and moved the ball around the court, the points started to add up and the shots to fall through the hoop.

This allowed Brooklyn to win the 4th by a margin of 24-14 and give them a perfect chance to send the game into overtime with just a ticks left on the clock. But, with 4.4 seconds to go, a wide-open C.J. Watson three-pointer–set up by great passes from Joe Johnson to MarShon Brooks then on to Watson–missed everything (the rim, net, backboard, everything) and harmlessly bounced away as the buzzer sounded. An uncontested three-pointer for a team down three at the buzzer? About as perfect a shot as possible.

Some other observations I had from the game: #ReggieEvansPlayoffReboundWatch: 12. Reggie had another big rebounding day, but was truly horrendous on offense and allowed Chicago defenders to cheat off him onto other Nets which led to effective double-teams and chaos and turnovers and missed shots……Gerald Wallace hit a three at the end of the 1st half to bring the Nets down seven. Other than that made basket, he was 1-7 from the field with four missed three-pointers. Reminder: His contract lasts for three more seasons……Brook Lopez was Brooklyn's star, pouring in an efficient 22 points with nine boards and SEVEN blocks. His interior defense was great the whole night but was hampered by the lack of it from Reggie, Gerald, Andray Blatche, and even Kris Humphries too. Not Brook's fault……Blatche and Watson combined for 4-17 shooting from the field and a -15 rating. They're the Nets' two best bench players and when they play that bad, it's hard to win…..No Keith Bogans (Coach's Decision) and a limited and really bad Stack (six minutes, three missed shots, -7 rating). Hopefully something PJ continues with next game. Also, MarShon should take much of if not all of these guys' minutes. Please……Deron and Joe were both ok, but certainly didn't play well enough for a playoff game. Missed a lot of open shots that could and should have changed the momentum of this game.

Looking Ahead

Game 4 is Saturday afternoon at 2:00 pm in Chicago. Maybe the early start will reboot the Nets' chances in this series.

About Josh Burton

I'm a New York native who has been a Nets season ticket holder, in both New Jersey and now Brooklyn, since birth. Northwestern University (Medill School of Journalism) '18