In what was a game with tight margins throughout, there was a time in the 4th quarter where the Bulls cold offense looked to be dooming them. The first 6:15 of the quarter the Bulls had only scored 4 points, and a couple tough Joe Johnson makes had the Nets up by 6.
By then Marquis Teague had been inserted into the lineup at PG, and proceeded to give reason to stay in the rest of the game. Teague scored on both a layup and a jumper during that final stretch, and it was the team with the All-Star PG who collapsed instead . Since that 4:44 mark in the forth, the Bulls outscored Brooklyn 10-2 to win the game (not counting a garbage-time 3-pointer), while the Nets had consecutive turnovers and porous transition defense to blame for it. And late when the Nets tried to isolate their big guards in Johnson and Deron Williams, the Bulls held them off in thanks to the work Teague did on the other end. The Nets may have fatigue to blame for what happened (and playing Keith Bogans for 18 scoreless minutes, HA), but it was also a great closing stretch from a team that is starting to prove it can handle such moments while Derrick Rose is out.
The Nets looked like they had advantages both inside and out at several points in the game tonight. The Bulls started out insanely hot hitting 7/8, but then Deron Williams helped the Nets back with the 3-pointer (he was 3-6 overall) and finished with 24. On the interior, Brook Lopez was thankfully on a minutes limit (finished with 25 overall, didn't come into stretch run until 1:26 remaining) as he was able to shot-put 8-footers in the lane with ease and had a surprisingly good night on the boards.
The Bulls received another big 3rd quarter (and game) from Marco Belinelli, who finished with 19 points on only 9 shots, including two layups in that quick game-ending comeback. Belli showed pretty good defense at times as well, and continues to be the Bulls best starting SG this season. Nobody else was nearly as efficient, but a lot of solid spread-out production from Noah, Deng, Boozer (Nets had nothing from the PF position tonight), Gibson and Teague. In another game without Kirk Hinrich, both Teague and Nate Robinson had trouble defending Williams at times, especially in committing fouls, but Teague's relatively big size (sorry, Nate) gave the Bulls a better chance. And what made the decision even easier to ride the rookie was that Nate was also making poor decisions offensively, including a couple blown fast breaks.
This is yet another impressive win for the Bulls as they've now gone 3-1 in what was considered to be a very tough part of the schedule. And other win with 3 of their rotation guards unavailable. One of the biggest points for concern was that against better teams the Bulls would just not be able to close, but they emphatically showed otherwise tonight.
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