Apr 29, 2013, 11:58 PM EDT
On Saturday, the Pacers posted an offensive rating of 70.2 in their Game 3 loss to the Hawks.
Tonight, the Nets bested that offensive rating – on possessions they missed a shot.
Let me repeat that. Every time the Nets began a possession by missing a shot, their offense performed better than Indiana’s did overall in its last game.
Brooklyn’s offense was incredible tonight. The Nets made 50 percent of their shots, rebounded 40 percent of their misses and scored on nearly 60 percent of their second-chance opportunities.
The Nets scored 134 points, 111 of them in regulation, in Game 4. Their offense was better tonight.
Rather, their was at least more effective tonight.
Brooklyn’s two biggest stars stepped up, but that was certainly in part due to the Bulls’ best defenders of those two stepping down. I doubt the Nets will care about those details, though.
In Game 4, they led by 14 points with three minutes left in regulation and lost. Tonight, they by seven points with three minutes left and surged further ahead with a game-ending 12-0 run for a season-saving 110-91 victory.
The Nets still trail Chicago, 3-2, in the series, and it will take even more mental toughness to complete the comeback – but, by Brooklyn’s standards in that department, tonight was an overwhelming success thanks to all those offensive rebounds (18 in total).
Like the Nets envisioned when they signed them to those big contracts, Williams and Lopez led them to the crucial win.
Of course, Williams couldn’t match his point-a-minute pace with Hinrich out over a larger sample, but Williams still found plenty of success in Hinrich’s absence. The Nets’ point guard had 23 points and 10 assists and captained an offense that scored 124.8 points per 100 possessions.
But Lopez actually reached the point-a-minute clip with Noah out, scoring seven in seven as, for the first time this series, Noah played fewer minutes than his previous game (28 tonight). Lopez finished with 28 points, 10 rebounds and three putbacks, including a nasty dunk on a missed C.J. Watson free throw.
Chicago’s offense, on the other hand, was fine despite struggling early, when the Bulls forced too many long 2s as they got used to playing without Hinrich. But they eventually settled in. Nate Robinson had 20 points and eight assists. Jimmy Butler scored 18 points. Carlos Boozer had 10 points and 10 rebounds, and Marco Belinelli shot 4-for-5.
But the Nets’ role players stepped up, too. Andray Blatche scored 13 points, C.J. Watson added 11 points. Even the mentally shaken Gerald Wallace had 12 points, three assists, two steals and two blocks.
Given the Bulls’ injuries, Williams and Lopez excelling tonight made plenty of sense. There wasn’t a strong reason for Wallace to have such a good game other than, when the Nets play well, Wallace plays well. He’s turned into quite the frontrunner.
Late in the game, Wallace made a 3-pointer, stole a pass on Chicago’s next possession and drove for a dunk.
Yes, the Nets were playing well, alright.
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