I don’t know what was scarier, the Bulls’ apathy in the first five minutes of Game 3 or their suffocating defense from that point on in the contest
Either way, Chicago held on to beat the Brooklyn Nets in a playoff struggle fitting of the 79-76 final score.
Brooklyn blitzed Chicago early in the game, as the Bulls tried furiously (and foolishly) to force feed Carlos Boozer down low. Did ‘Tibs’ think he had Wilt down there? When Chicago finally came to its senses (on both ends) the Nets struggled to get a clean look on the court. PJ Carlesimo spent his timeouts trying to pick up the morale more than diagram plays. It was ugly.
I saw a lot of different lineups from Brooklyn in Game 3, even Marshon Brooks managed to get some burn. One man I didn’t see was rookie forward Mirza Teletovic. He may just be the X-factor in Game 4.
Reggie Evans is one of the rare matchups that Boozer relishes these days. He torches him on the regular. Andray Blatche, meanwhile, is having a hard time staying with Nazr Mohammed, let alone Booze. On one play, he was so out-of-position on Carlos that all the Bulls PF had to do was lift the ball over his shoulders and it was a foul. Kris Humphries? Yeah, I don’t think he is the answer either…not unless this series is settled in Divorce Court.
No, the Nets clearly need someone at the four-spot who can at least contribute on the offensive end. Since it apparently isn’t going to come in transition, they need a stretch PF to take some pressure off as they face a dug-in Bulls defense. For those who don’t know, Teletovic is a hot-shooting 6-9 Bosnian who has actually been playing (and putting up serious number) for years in Europe. I implore you not to judge him merely on his NBA rookie stats (3.5 ppg, 1.8 rpg). His 21.7 avg in the Spanish League last season (widely accepted as 2nd best league in the world) isn’t the half of it. He has had some big games professionally in his career overseas, not 30/40, more like 60+. Nobody expects him to put up huge numbers in an NBA playoff game, especially at the United Center. But his presence on the court could just open up enough space and freedom for Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and Brook Lopez to do what they do.
And give Brooklyn a chance of getting back in this series.