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Nets need to solve offensive woes in Game 4

Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls fouls Brook

Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls fouls Brook Lopez of the Nets in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. (April 25, 2013) Credit: Getty

CHICAGO - Deron Williams might want to sift through his luggage, shaking every garment to see if anything weird falls onto the floor.

He might have a tracking device stashed somewhere because it seems as if the Bulls are watching his every move.

Williams might think somebody slapped it on him ever since he toasted Chicago in the opener of the teams' Eastern Conference first-round series. Although that performance was a week ago, it probably feels like light years away, given how things have gone offensively for Williams and the Nets in the past two games heading into pivotal Game 4 with the Bulls at the United Center Saturday afternoon.

"After Game 1, they are definitely keying on me," Williams said Friday. "It's tough. As point guard, I don't want to go out there and just shoot 20 bad shots, but pretty much every shot I'm going to take is going to be contested -- two people around me, three people around me . . . So I've just got to find ways to be more aggressive and get to the basket. But it's tough right now."

Consider these numbers: The Nets missed 25 of 26 shots during one stretch in Thursday's loss and finished 28-for-81. They're 57-for-163 from the floor (9-for-42 from three-point range) in the last two games.

Something has to change against the Bulls' defense, which swarms, double-teams and packs it in down low. Although interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said he thought about altering the starting lineup, he's not inclined to just yet. But mixing up the rotation definitely is on the table.

Carlesimo did that in the fourth quarter two nights ago with the Nets needing a serious infusion of offense, going with MarShon Brooks and Kris Humphries over Gerald Wallace and Reggie Evans. The two starters didn't see a lick of action in the final quarter.

"If we are struggling offensively, then we need to address that," Carlesimo said. "Part of it is, it's a tough balance because some of the problems that we have, it's not because those guys are not scoring. It's because other guys aren't. If we do some of the things that we normally do, or we make some threes or we finish in the paint, then we are OK and we can take advantage of other guys' skill sets and not just say, 'The hell with it, we've got to put an offensive team out there.' Because that can also get you in trouble, where all of a sudden, we are not as good defensively anymore, we are not as good rebounding anymore.

"Whether we get that dramatic where we've got to change the lineup five minutes into the game or not, I don't know. It's certainly a concern going forward, but we can address it with other guys, too, and that would help the situation."

Getting better ball movement, particularly swinging it around to the weak side, is something the Nets believe would aid their offense.

"Chicago, they are the type of defensive team that you have to make them move," Joe Johnson said. "You play on one side, it's going to be hard to beat them. But when we are able to get great ball movement, and I look back at Game 1, where we had great ball movement, where the ball swung around the horn, and we got the best shot available and guys were knocking down shots. So we have to get back to moving the basketball and getting the best shots."

New York Sports