Down 2-1, Nets try to avoid big hole against Bulls
CHICAGO (AP) - Deron Williams is struggling and Joe Johnson is hobbling. Suddenly, the Brooklyn Nets look as if they could be headed to an early playoff exit.
They trail the Chicago Bulls 2-1 after back-to-back losses and will fall into a really big hole in this best-of-7 series if they lose Game 4 on Saturday.
It's a tough spot for a team that won 49 games in its first season in Brooklyn and ended a six-year postseason drought.
The Nets solved one issue by announcing a contract extension for general manager Billy King on Friday. Now, they need to find an answer on offense after shooting about 35 percent the past two games.
Even so, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said, "We know how good they are.''
The Nets just aren't showing it at the moment, and the frustration appears to be mounting. Williams is having trouble getting to the paint. Johnson's left foot is "a lot better'' but remains a concern. Gerald Wallace is not sure where he fits in.
A slasher who prefers the open court, Wallace went from scoring 14 points in Game 1 to finishing with just two on 1-of-7 shooting in Game 2 with Brooklyn unable to push the ball in a 90-82 loss. And things were no better for him or the Nets in Game 3 on Thursday.
Wallace hit just 2 of 8 shots for five points and was on the bench the entire fourth quarter along with Reggie Evans in a 79-76 loss, watching as C.J. Watson's 3 at the buzzer missed and a late rally came up short.
"I couldn't tell you my role now,'' Wallace said at the team's hotel. "I don't have a clue what my role is on this team.''
It was a surprising comment so late in the season, but interim coach P.J. Carlesimo shrugged it off and pointed the finger at himself.
"I just think we're going through a tough time right now. That's what playoffs are all about,'' Carlesimo said. "We're all frustrated. And we have to - I have to - do a better job constantly defining roles and redefining roles so we can perform the way we're capable.''
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