The Brooklyn Nets needed a big pick-me-up after their devastating three-overtime Game 4 loss to the Chicago Bulls on Saturday. It would have been very easy for them to lie down and let Chicago cruise on to round 2; however, Brooklyn showed a ton of heart, led by a huge performance from their big man Brook Lopez.
Lopez dominated the battle of the big men tonight, notching 28 points on 11 of 20 shootings to go along with his 10 rebounds. It was refreshing to see Lopez play as well as he did especially after having logged over 51 minutes in Brooklyn’s Game 4 loss.
Despite Saturday’s loss, the Nets lucked out in the sense that they did not see any of their players succumb to injury. Chicago, on the other hand, saw its starting point guard Kirk Hinrich suffer a bruised calf after having played almost 60 minutes in Saturday’s three-overtime bout. He had been in a walking boot all of Monday and was unable to play in Game 5.
Deron Williams certainly took advantage of Hinrich’s absence, putting up a double-double of his own with 23 points and 10 assists. The Nets will likely need more from their franchise star if they want a real shot at stealing this series from the Bulls. But for tonight, Williams’ play was more than enough.
The Bulls did their best to keep the game the close, but it was Gerald Wallace who really sealed Chicago’s fate, nailing a clutch three pointer then promptly following that up with a steal and fast break dunk.
Next up is Game 6, where the Nets will look for another imposing performance from their big man Lopez to lead the way.