Follow the Nets' return to New York with Newsday's Rod Boone.
Nets hope to turn pressure around on Bulls
CHICAGO -- They’re back at the scene of that epic collapse, ready to truly put brutal triple-overtime loss here five days ago on the backburner.
But if the Nets are going to keep their season from coming to an abrupt end, they’ll have to find a way to get a victory at the United Center -- something they’ve failed to do four previous times this season -- when they meet the Bulls in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference first-round series Thursday night.
“We need a win. We haven’t won here yet,” Deron Williams said before the Nets morning shootaround. “This is one of the places we haven’t won and for whatever reason, we haven’t been able to have success. We’ve had chances. Obviously, last time we were here, we blew that lead. So that’s still fresh on our minds and we are ready to go.”
When the topic of their triple-OT defeat was brought up to Reggie Evans, he quickly replied: “We won or last game.”
No, we’re talking about Game 4 here in Chicago. Remember?
“Aw, that’s over with,” he said. “I think we showed last time [on Monday] we got over that. It was tough game. That was like an NBA classic -- triple overtime. When you have a game like that, even though you lose and you want to win .. it ain’t no reason to hold your heads down because you are on the road and you lose a triple-overtime game. We showed the world that we aren’t worried about that game no more.
“We are done with that game.”
P.J. Carlesimo echoed that same sentiment, suggesting it's not going to play any part in the team's psyche.
“I don’t think anybody’s thinking backwards now,” the interim coach said. “I think everybody’s thinking forward. Getting people ready to play a Game 6, it’s a knockout game for them, it’s another elimination game for us. So, I’m not concerned with that at all. We’ve played enough good minutes in this building, but I don’t think they are going to think about that.
“I think they are going to think about tonight. We’ve got to win and we’ve try to get it back to Brooklyn.”
Evans, who was ill Wednesday and didn’t practice with the team prior to flying here to the Windy City, believes the Nets’ bounce back win in Game 5 was a sign of the type of fight they have in them.
“It shows a lot,” he said, “that we weren’t ready for the season to end. Just to hear some of the people in Brooklyn, our fans, just happy for us to come back, and people that work there [at the Barclays Center] are like, ‘Hey, man we need ya’ll to win so we can come back to work.’ And that’s just a good feeling. They are depending on us.
“So we are just trusting in ourselves that we can come in here and get a win. The past is the past and eventually, you’ve got to overcome the past and this is just a hurdle that we have. So we’ve got to be able to jump that hurdle.”
Otherwise, they’ll be cleaning out their lockers Friday rather than preparing for a Game 7 and a potential second-round date with the Heat in the Eastern Conference semifinals, which tip off in South Beach Monday.
“We know this is a must win,” Andray Blatche said. “Guys are focused and we know we are going to come out and do what we’ve got to do.”
And if they can do it, the Nets feel the momentum pendulum will shift squarely back over to their side, putting the Bulls in a tight spot.
“I think if we get this one,” Williams said, “there’s definitely going to be a lot of pressure on them going back into our building for Game 7.”