MarShon Brooks, Andray Blatche, C.J. Watson give Nets a boost off bench
P.J. Carlesimo went crazy, lighting into his team and using his share of choice words to get his point across.
The Nets' interim coach had seen enough of his team's mistakes and barked at the players during a 20-second timeout in the third quarter Friday night. He was ticked off at the way the Nets were sleepwalking against a Bulls team that didn't even have three-fifths of this season's starting lineup, playing without Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer and Kirk Hinrich.
"P.J. is always upset," Gerald Wallace said after the Nets held off the Bulls to pull out a 93-89 victory before a sellout crowd at Barclays Center. "He's always upset. He's probably upset right now."
But Carlesimo had good reason to be at that point.
"Because the third quarter has been our nemesis," Wallace said. "There were some things we didn't do right in the third quarter and he was trying to prevent that. He was trying to make sure we kept our focus, we didn't drop our heads as we usually do and continue to execute in the game."
It took a while, but the Nets (28-19) finally heeded Carlesimo's words and got it going, particularly in the fourth quarter -- from some unexpected late-game heroes.
Carlesimo elected to ride the hot hands of his bench, sticking with Andray Blatche, C.J. Watson and MarShon Brooks for the better part of the fourth, and they came through.
The trio totaled all but five of the Nets' 25 points in the final quarter, with Blatche shooting 5-for-6 and scoring 11 points and Brooks adding nine points. Blatche played 11:44 of the final quarter, Watson was on the court for 11:53 and Brooks saw action for 8:41, keying their late surge against the Bulls (28-18).
Carlesimo kept Blatche in the game rather than go with Brook Lopez, who paced the Nets with 20 points.
"I mean, I was surprised," Blatche said. "It was nice, though."
It was Blatche's traditional three-point play with 1:06 remaining that gave the Nets an 89-84 lead, and Wallace's tip-in off Deron Williams' miss with 31 seconds left pushed the Nets' lead to 91-86.
Brooks had five quick points at the start of the fourth, hitting a running jumper and a three-pointer within a span of 30 seconds to give the Nets a 68-67 lead. Brooks even showed off his passing skills, assisting on Blatche's bucket that gave the Nets a 70-67 lead with 10:20 remaining.
"It felt great," Brooks said. "It did. I just try to stay ready and be aggressive. I was out there in the fourth quarter, trying to make plays. P.J. called my play a couple of times and thank God things went well for me tonight."
The Nets probably all breathed that same sigh of relief, knowing their bench came through to keep them from dropping what would've been an ugly loss to an undermanned team.
"It was good for us, all the people that played well," said Williams, who tweaked his right ankle late in the first half but played through it and had 11 points and six assists. "C.J. and Andray . . . MarShon. It's good to see those guys get their confidence because we are going to need that . . . and especially in the playoffs."