Bulls rally past Nets in 3-OT thriller
Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Powered by an improbable fourth quarter comeback, the Chicago Bulls scratched and clawed their way through a triple- overtime marathon at United Center to take a 142-134 victory away from the Brooklyn Nets in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.
It was a Michael Jordan-esque performance by none other than Chicago reserve Nate Robinson, with the mercurial 5-foot-9 guard racking up 23 points in the fourth quarter -- including the first 12 of a game-tying 14-0 run in the last 3:45 of regulation.
"My team needed a lift, just playing with a bunch of energy and that's when I'm at my best," said Robinson, who totaled a playoff career-high with 34 points on 14-of-23 shooting from the floor.
With plantar fasciitis plaguing his foot, Joakim Noah grinded through nearly 39 minutes of play -- 14 over his supposed minute restriction -- to finish with a valiant 15 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks.
Both players fouled out before it was over, but Chicago's supporting cast finished the job with a 13-6 surge in the third overtime to complete what was an utter collapse by the Nets, who will now return to Brooklyn trailing 3-1 in the series.
In achieving a franchise record for points in a playoff game, Chicago received 18 points and 14 assists from Kirk Hinrich, as well as 21 points and eight boards from Carlos Boozer. Jimmy Butler scored 16 and Luol Deng had 15 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
The Nets, who had struggled mightily to score in their last two losses, shot 57.1 percent through regulation, but a brutal 29.6 percent in the three overtimes combined.
"It was a great basketball game but its a killer," said Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo. "We need to focus on Monday, we made some mistakes, we had some tough calls go against us."
Deron Williams had 32 points, but made just two of his last 12 shots. Joe Johnson, also battling plantar fasciitis, dropped in 22 points -- including a buzzer-beating game-tying basket to send the contest to a second OT.
Brook Lopez added 26 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks. Gerald Wallace chipped in 17 points and nine boards, while Reggie Evans had 15 points and 13 rebounds in the back-breaking setback.
Wallace, whose struggles in the Nets' two previous losses had him publicly questioning his role following the defeat in Game 3, scored 10 of his points in the second half on Saturday, and his dunk put the Nets ahead 109-95 in the fourth.
Robinson, though, was lighting the world on fire during the frame, converting on an incredible 9-of-11 from the field. During the game-changing run, he brought the Bulls within two with a long jumper and then dished to Boozer to knot the score at 109-109 to complete a 14-0 surge.
Lopez notched a pair of free throws but Noah answered at the other end with a layup. Williams held for the last shot, drove hard to the basket and got an open look, but his fadeaway jumper bounced off the rim, sending the game to overtime.
With the score tied late in the extra session, Robinson continued to display heroics, rising on one foot from the 3-point line to bank home a running 23- footer and stake Chicago to a two-point lead with two ticks remaining.
Johnson, though, who took the Bulls 1-on-4 to sink the tying basket the possession prior, answered with a floater as time expired, sending the game to a second OT.
Robinson would foul out in the second extra session after being called for a charge for pushing off Williams, but before he was done, added a floater in the lane to put the Bulls ahead.
With the Nets down four after a dunk from Noah, Johnson converted a three- point play and Lopez split a pair from the line to tie the contest once again.
Deng and Johnson each missed jumpers and the Bulls had possession with just over five ticks remaining. Noah had two good looks from underneath, but Lopez swatted away his second attempt and the contest headed for a third extra session.
Noah added one last parting gift before also fouling out, canning a baseline jumper to give the Bulls the lead for good to start the final extra period.
The Nets came within three with 21 seconds left, but the Bulls completed the comeback when Nazr Mohammed putback a Boozer missed free throw for a 140-134 lead.
Williams turned in 22 of his points in the middle stanzas of regulation to help Brooklyn erase an 11-point second quarter deficit, and the Nets took their first lead since the opening quarter, 70-68, on a bucket from Wallace near the midpoint of the third.
The Nets averaged 79.0 points in back-to-back losses to Chicago, but eclipsed that mark on a turnaround jumper from Johnson late in the third, where Brooklyn shot a scorching 70.6 percent.
Lopez broke out with 12 points in the first quarter, but was held scoreless until a bucket with 2:08 left in the third. He then padded Brooklyn's edge to 84-76 on a desperation 3-pointer with the shot and game clocks winding down.
The Bulls fell behind, 98-86, in the fourth on a three-point play from C.J. Watson, but Robinson single-handedly started leading the game-saving run shortly after.
Robinson fell one point shy of Michael Jordan's franchise-record of 24 points in a playoff quarter ... Noah and Robinson combined for 16 of Chicago's first 18 points of the extra sessions ... The Bulls scored 28 points off Chicago's 20 turnovers ... Lopez made the first 3-pointer of his NBA career ... Chicago's Taj Gibson scored 10 off the bench.
04/27 22:53:01 ET