CHICAGO -- After two straight wins over the Bulls, the Nets are poised to become the ninth team in NBA history to come back from a 3-1 deficit to win a best-of-seven series. And thanks to their fourth-place regular-season finish in the Eastern Conference, Game 7 against the fifth-place Bulls will be played Saturday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
“It’s been back and forth, but it comes down to one game,” Nets guard Joe Johnson said. “I feel we have a pretty good chance from the fact that it’s on our floor in Brooklyn.”
The last time a Game 7 was played in Brooklyn was the 1956 Worlds Series. Sad to say for the borough, but the Yankees won, 9-0. But this is basketball, where the crowd makes more of a difference.
Asked what he expects from the fans, Johnson said, “It’s beyond my imagination how it’s going to be. But it will definitely be a frenzy in there. The ‘sixth man’ is definitely coming to play. More than anything, I know Brooklyn will be ready.
“Us having homecourt advantage definitely will play a big part. We just have to come out and stay aggressive from start to finish.”
As banged up as the Nets might be, they’re in far better shape than the wounded Bulls. It’s possible Chicago point guard Kirk Hinrich might return from his calf injury, but now, forward Luol Deng’s status is uncertain after he missed Game 6 with the flu and reportedly was tested for spinal meningitis.
The Bulls’ situation drew no sympathy from Johnson, who has been playing with a painful case of plantar fasciitis. “Injuries are part of the game,” Johnson said. “It happens. We’ve got guys beat up, and they’re all trying to play through it. No matter who’s out there, they’re NBA players.”
And Johnson is counting on Brooklyn to stand up and give the Nets’ walking wounded the support they need to get over the hump to reach the second round against Miami.