NEW YORK — No use looking back now for the Brooklyn Nets.
Game 4 hurt, physically and mentally, but there’s nothing they can do about it. The missed free throws, the blown boxouts, cost them what should have been a victory, and they realize things would be a whole lot different if they were coming home tied at two games apiece instead of trailing the Chicago Bulls 3-1.
That’s history now. If they don’t win Game 5 on Monday night, they’ll have all the time in the world to think about what might have been.
“I think they are very acutely aware of the mistakes that we made and I don’t think we need that for tomorrow. I think tomorrow is more positive and I think it’s really important for us to be looking ahead, not backwards, tomorrow,” coach P.J. Carlesimo said Sunday, revealing that the Nets won’t look at specifics of their collapse when they gather Monday morning.
“They’ll be enough motivation. They’re not going to forget what happened on Saturday, but I don’t think we need it. We need to dwell on Monday, not Saturday.”
What the Nets are trying to forget is the 14-point lead they couldn’t hold late in regulation on Saturday. Nate Robinson led the Bulls back, and they pulled out a 142-134 triple-overtime victory. As meaningful as it was for the Bulls, they understand they also need to let it go quickly.
“Well, it’s one game,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “I like the fact that we never quit on the game. That’s been the nature of the team all season. They’ll keep battling. Things weren’t going our way, but there was no give-in. They just kept going.”
That spirit has Chicago on the verge of the second round in a season in which Derrick Rose hasn’t played at all, Joakim Noah has battled chronic pain in his right foot and some other injury often seems around the corner, even it’s not serious. This time it’s a bruised calf for point guard Kirk Hinrich.