CHICAGO (CBSNewYork/AP) — Despite being in a 3-2 hole against the Chicago Bulls, the Brooklyn Nets insist they are the team to beat in this best-of-seven series.
“There’s no doubt in our mind. We are the better team,” Andray Blatche said on Wednesday.
The Bulls will try again to wrap it up when the series shifts back to the United Center on Thursday.
“We are in the hole and we are swinging to get out,” said Blatche. “We are going to continue to fight.”
The Nets seemed all but out of it before a 110-91 victory at the Barclays Center on Monday night. Now, the Bulls appear to be reeling as they try to avoid a decisive seventh game at Brooklyn on Saturday.
Point guard Kirk Hinrich might miss his second straight game because of a bruised left calf, and Luol Deng and Taj Gibson were sick Wednesday and stayed home. Joakim Noah has battled plantar fasciitis in his right foot — the same issue dogging Brooklyn guard Joe Johnson, except it’s in his left foot.
“I think we are (better). I think all-around, we are a better team than they are one through five,” said the Nets’ Gerald Wallace. “We’ve got to establish our bigs and kind of dominate from the inside, start inside-out and that’s kind of the way our team is built. We go inside-out, and we are able to get in transition and we are able to pick teams apart that way.”
The most pressing matter for Brooklyn is trying to find a way to win in Chicago, something it hasn’t done this season. The Nets dropped both regular season matchups there and lost Games 3 and 4.
“Number one, the Bulls. Number two, we just did a poor job of closing,” Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said. “The first game there we didn’t get a shot. We had the ball with whatever it was, a three-, four-point lead and we didn’t get a shot our last three possessions. And obviously Game Four, up 14 with less than three minutes to go would be a pretty good place to be you would think. So twice we did a very poor job of finishing. I don’t think there’s any magic to the building. I think it’s the guys the white uniforms and the fact that we’ve done a poor job closing out for sure.”
Now, they’re trying to hang on.
Only eight NBA teams have overcome a 3-1 deficit, and the odds that the Nets would add to that number seemed slim at best after Game 4.
“I think we’ve been confident throughout the whole series regardless of whether they were up 3-1,” Johnson said. “The series is not over man until the first team gets four wins so at this point we’ve still got a shot. We understand that we’ve got a big task ahead of us and that’s going to Chicago and getting a win.”
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