40° Good Morning
40° Good Morning

On brink of elimination in Game 5, Nets remain confident

Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah, left, tries to

Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah, left, tries to block the shot of Brook Lopez (11) during the second overtime in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. (April 28, 2013) Credit: AP

Rather than rewinding all the footage of their epic fourth-quarter collapse in Saturday's triple-overtime loss to the Bulls, the Nets probably felt better off simply burying it in the backyard like an old soup bone.

"We won't watch the last three minutes and say, 'Look, we missed this free throw, we turned the ball over, we did A, B, C and D,' " interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said Sunday. "I think they are very acutely aware of the mistakes that we made and I don't think we need that for tomorrow."

Beaten up mentally and physically after being on the wrong side of what many see as an instant classic, the Nets are forced to pick up the pieces quickly heading into Game 5 of their first-round matchup with Chicago at Barclays Center Monday night. They're trailing 3-1 in the series, and there's no time to dwell on how they never could seal the deal Saturday despite appearing to seize control of the game in the fourth quarter.

No time to lament their slew of mistakes. They're on the brink of calling in for early tee times in a couple of days if they can't find a way to upend the Bulls and help erase those nightmarish memories of 48 hours earlier.

"Disappointment is probably not strong enough, but an extremely tough way to lose," Carlesimo said. "But when it's all said and done, that's what it was. It's a loss, and having a day in between is good. We have to move away from the disappointment and channel it.

"Whether it becomes anger or resolve or whatever it is, we can't focus on Saturday. We've got a one-game season. It's as simple as that."

Something's got to give Monday night. The Nets haven't lost a Game 5 at home in five tries and Chicago is 12-0 all-time when holding a 3-1 series lead. Who knows? Health might be the tiebreaker.

With so many players on both sides logging huge minutes in the nearly four-hour tussle -- Deron Williams played 58 minutes and Joe Johnson played 48 -- Carlesimo suggested they're going to have to keep an eye on everyone and closely study tendencies to determine if they need a rest.

"We might not be able to go quite as deep with some individuals in the 48 minutes as we normally would in a game this big," Carlesimo said. "I think we are going to have to monitor that. We are going to have to watch if guys are looking like they are fatigued or whether their shots are falling a little bit short. So it's something we'll watch, but I don't think it's going to be any different for us than it's going to be for Chicago."

That's one of the reasons Carlesimo remains optimistic that the Nets can come all the way back from their series deficit, even though that line of thinking doesn't mesh with the odds.

"You win or you go home," Carlesimo said. "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."

Notes & quotes: Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters in Chicago that point guard Kirk Hinrich injured his left calf Saturday, but he refused to speculate on Hinrich's status. "He got banged up a little bit," Thibodeau said. "I don't want to jump to any conclusions. We'll see where he is." . . . Carlesimo said MarShon Brooks has leapfrogged Keith Bogans in the rotation because Brooks can create more offensively. Bogans hasn't played in the last two games. "It's definitely not an absolute at this point," Carlesimo said.

New York Sports