By Brandon Robinson, WARR Contributor
The Chicago Bulls and Brooklyn Nets tip off in Brooklyn in about an half-hour for Game 7 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal matchup.
Where’s Cliff Murdoch when you need him? The parallel universe Chicago Cubs play-by-play broadcaster said it best in the 1993 movie Rookie of the Year:
“ONE GAME — there is NO TOMORROW. This is for the whole megillah, for the whole ball of wax, for the whole kit and caboodle, for the whole enchilada, for the whole shooting match. This is for all the marbles!”
If you’re still drawing a blank, check this out from the underrated freak-of-nature youth makes the big leagues flick.
After a 106-89 victory in game 1 over the Bulls in their Brooklyn playoff debut, the Nets fell to Chicago in games 2 through 4 with strong play from Chicago’s core of Nate Robinson, Kirk Hinrich, Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer.
The Nets had their chances to win game 4 last Saturday at the United Center in an instant classic that went into triple overtime but still the Bulls held a 3-1 series lead coming out of that game.
Brooklyn hasn’t lost since, avoiding playoff elimination in game 5 with a 110-91 victory at Barclays Center and extending the series by winning game 6 95-92 at the United Center for the franchise’s first ever playoff win in Chicago.
Brook Lopez has been the most consistent player in the series for the Nets, averaging 22.5 points per game and 7.2 rebounds. Deron Williams has also been a major contributor for Brooklyn, supplying 20 points per game and nearly nine dimes a game. Nate Robinson has been the go-to guy for Chicago with 17.8 points per game, along with Carlos Boozer’s 17.5 points per game and 11.5 rebounds.
Much has been said about the series being a true 4-5 seed matchup. Both teams have played hard-nosed basketball throughout, both have dealt with players with various ailments and at times BOTH have failed to play to their full potential. Game 7 won’t necessarily be about X’s and O’s— it will be more about who wants the victory more.
Can the Nets finally overcome their ‘soft’ label and play the brand of basketball that won them games 1, 5 and 6?
The Nets have achieved the virtually impossible by overcoming their 3-1 deficit. Teams coming back from a 3-1 are far from the norm in the NBA playoffs, only eight teams have come back from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA playoffs. The last two to do it in the first round were the Detroit Pistons, who beat the Orlando Magic in 2003, and the Phoenix Suns, who eliminated the Los Angeles Lakers in 2006. Additionally, the Miami Heat beat the New York Knicks in the Eastern Conference semifinals back in 1997.
Can Chicago survive this series with the amount of injuries that have piled up for them?
“We just have to go out there and play whoever is ready,” Boozer told New York Newsday earlier this week.
Luol Deng is out tonight with the flu, missing his second straight game in the series. Deng is in a local Chicago hospital getting treatment. Kirk Hinrich is doubtful tonight with his calf injury (ed. note- now confirmed out via multiple sources on Twitter) and Derrick Rose’s situation is as untenable as ever. Nate Robinson has also been battling the flu.
The Nets do have the personnel to close out this series, but at times they have struggled in spite of their efforts to take control of things.
“Things are looking a lot better for us than they did when we were leaving here last Saturday,” Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo told Newsday.
Will hard work beat talent when talent doesn’t work hard?
We’ll find out tonight live from Brooklyn, New York, USA.
Game 7 Extras:
The last game 7 played in Brooklyn was in 1956. The New York Yankees beat the Brooklyn Dodgers in the World Series 9-0.
Rihanna’s Brooklyn stop on her world tour, initially scheduled for tonight ,was cancelled at the Barclays to accommodate this game.
Brandon Robinson began his journalism career at 12 years old with the NBA’s Nets Basketball, hosting the kids radio show, Nets Slammin’ Planet on New York radio with Nets legend Albert King and Lynn Wilson. His show was featured on NBA Inside Stuff with Ahmad Rashad, Hoop Magazine, MSG Network and Fox Sports Network. He has interviewed everyone from U.S. governors, athletes and television personalities, earning the nickname “Scoop B.” He covered the Nets inaugural season in Brooklyn for BrooklynFans.com. Follow him on Twitter @ScoopB.