After splitting the first two games in Brooklyn, the Chicago Bulls took the next two in Chicago to take a 3-1 series lead over the Nets.
The two Eastern Conference teams battled it out in game four, playing a triple-overtime classic in which Nate Robinson put the Bulls on his back in the fourth quarter and was won by the Bulls 142-134.
Robinson scored 23 points in the fourth quarter, one shy of the Bulls’ franchise record for most points in a quarter in a playoff game held by Michael Jordan. Brooklyn led by 14 with three minutes remaining, but Robinson wasn’t having any of that. He started a 14-0 run by scoring the first 12 points and then capped off the 14-0 run with an assist.
The heroics didn’t stop there for Robinson, as he put his team in position to win in overtime. Robinson banked in a one-foot floater over Deron Williams with 1.7 seconds left, but was soon matched by Joe Johnson, who hit a floater of his own at the buzzer to force a second overtime.The second overtime ended with Joakim Noah getting blocked by Brook Lopez.
The Bulls took control in overtime number three to take the game and a commanding series lead heading back to Brooklyn on Monday night.
Robinson tied an NBA playoff record for most points scored after the third quarter with 29 points. The guy he tied? LeBron James. The Bulls got great contributions from Carlos Boozer (21 points, 8 rebounds), Kirk Hinrich (18 points, 14 assists, 60 minutes played), Jimmy Butler (16 points 6-8 FG, 3-5 3FG), Joakim Noah (15 points, 13 rebounds), Luol Deng (15 points, 8 rebounds), and Taj Gibson who had 10 points off the bench.
The Nets were led by Williams who finished with 32 points and 10 assists, but shot 11-25 and scored just one basket after regulation. Brook Lopez scored 26 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, 5 offensive and Gerald Wallace added 17 on 6-8 shooting. Reggie Evans had 15 points, 13 rebounds, and 4 blocks and Andray Blatche scored 13 points off the bench.
Game two, which was won by the Bulls 79-76, was an ugly, grind-it-out game. Chicago had no field goals and two free throw attempts over the course of the final 5:46 seconds of the game. Brooklyn shot 34.6 percent and 5-21 from beyond the arc. The Bulls shot 39.7 percent, but just 3-15 from three-point land.
The Bulls will look to close out the series in Brooklyn on Monday at 7:00 p.m. in the Barclays Center.