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NBA -- Nets melt in the homestretch, lose to Bulls


PhilBoxing.com




CHICAGO -- Ahead 79-75 with 1:48 left to play, the Brooklyn Nets appeared well on their way to a convincing road victory over the undermanned Chicago Bulls Saturday night at the United Center.

But when the desperate Bulls put the clamps on their notoriously stingy defense, the Nets couldn't hold on to the lead, losing an 83-82 nail-biter as Chicago closed the final 90 seconds of play with a blistering 8-3 run.

With their top three guards -- Derrick Rose, Rip Hamilton and Kirk Hinrich -- sidelined by injuries and Nate Robinson hobbled by uneven play, the Bulls turned to rookie Marquis Teague to take charge of the offense in the endgame.

And the 19-year old newbie did not disappoint, setting up 6-foot-11 center Joakim Noah for a game-tying dunk and finishing with eight points and and two assists in 19 minutes of action.

"This was a great team effort. A lot of guys are stepping up. I'm happy for those guys because I see the work that they put in practice. It's all positive," Noah told the Chicago Tribune.

The Nets played two overtime sessions against the Detroit Pistons the night before and some of the fatigue showed in the final quarter, where they missed wide open jumpers. The Nets made only 29 of 75 field goals (38.7 percent) and 7-for-19 from 3-point range. Brooklyn also missed five of its 22 free throws.

Marco Belinelli again made the most of his extended minutes, this time swishing six of nine field goals for a team-high 19 points. Forwards Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer combined for 32 points and 13 rebounds for Chicago, which made only two of 10 treys but shot 33 of 75 field goals overall.

Deron Williams, who played college ball for the University of Illinois Fighting Illini, chalked 24 points and five assists while center Brook Lopez garnered 18 and 10 rebounds for Brooklyn, which fell to 13-10, five games behind the 18-5 New York Knicks in the Atlantic Division.

Chicago improved to 13-9 and top spot in the Central Division. (Homer D. Sayson)


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Homer D. Sayson.


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