Now on the brink, it's do or die time for Nets
As the Nets look forward to Monday's Game 5 against the Bulls at the Barclays Center, the scenario is perfectly clear.
"You win or you go home," interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said Sunday afternoon on a conference call, a day after the Nets' numbing 142-134 triple overtime loss to the Bulls at the United Center. "It's as simple as that ... and I think we’ll respond to that, and I don't think it's difficult for our guys to feel that they are capable of doing this.
"They feel that we can beat the Bulls. Have we done it? No, we haven't done it enough. But they know that we can do it. They know that this game is in Brooklyn and I do think they'll bounce back. I do think it's doable."
Still, it's not going to be easy for the Nets to pick up the pieces after blowing a 14-point lead with three minutes remaining in regulation, which ultimately helped drop them into a 3-1 hole in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference first-round matchup. One would have to think there's some kind of emotional toll the Nets will have to overcome to extend the series and send it to Chicago for a potential Game 6 on Thursday.
Allowing Nate Robinson to go crazy in the fourth quarter, paired would countless other chances to put the Bulls away had the Nets feeling rather somber in the aftermath of the exhaustive, nearly four-hour game.
But Carlesimo remains optimistic the Nets can come all the way back from their two-game deficit, despite the obvious uphill climb.
"Because we've been resilient all year, because we believe, because we've played enough very good minutes against Chicago that we know what we are capable of doing," he said. "We know it should be 2-2 and the whole line of questioning would be totally different. But it's not. It's 3-1 and that's our fault. We've got to deal with it, but we know how close it was to being 2-2 and a totally different scenario.
"But it's also a game at a time. The mindset will be totally different tomorrow night and if we can get the job done, it'll be totally different going into Thursday."