CHICAGO - C.J. Watson was all by himself, scurrying up the United Center floor for an uncontested score with a little more than three minutes left in the fourth quarter.
The Nets were up 14 at the time, had the Bulls on the ropes and seemed ready to deliver the knockout punch. Watson apparently was going to do just that against his old team, and he went up for a two-handed dunk.
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But he clanked it.
"I was going to dunk it," Watson said. "I was just a little tired and I missed it."
Not only did the Nets fail to score on that possession, but Watson's blown dunk livened a virtually dead crowd and ignited the Bulls. Nate Robinson scored 12 straight points to help bring them back in their eventual 142-134 triple-overtime win Saturday.
Though Watson's gaffe wasn't the precise reason the Nets lost in numbing fashion, there's no denying the momentum shift played an integral role as the Bulls erased that 14-point deficit in a matter of minutes.
"I don't think it would be possible to overstate it," interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "We had it at 14 and very unusually for them, they were a little scrambled. It was not a good offensive possession [for the Bulls]. They didn't communicate to each other what they should have been in. They turn the ball over, we get a breakaway to get it to 16.
"They are not going to go away. It wasn't like they were going to roll up and clear the bench and the game is over. But I like our chances a lot. I mean, there was nobody even in the picture. So that's just not good judgment on our part."
Deron Williams couldn't deny the swing in momentum once Watson came up empty.
"You never know, but it puts us up 16 and kind of takes them out of it," he said. "Then they started fouling Reg [Evans] and fouling Gerald [Wallace] and it kind of took our rhythm out, the little rhythm we had. It kind of took that away from us."