Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Going the Distance

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Going the Distance

Article excerpt

CHICAGO -- Andray Blatche walked off the hardwood and into a tunnel. As he followed his teammates toward the locker room, the Nets' forward smiled and reached up to give a fan a high-five.

The last time the Nets embarked on the same journey -- off the United Center court, to the airport, Brooklyn bound -- it was an unhappy one.

"That one Saturday was depressing," Deron Williams said of the flight home after a devastating Game 4 loss. "Not much talking, just kind of felt a little sorry for ourselves.

"But we turned it around, and that's all that matters."

Yes, the Nets are headed back to Brooklyn. They've got more basketball to play.

The Nets outlasted the depleted Bulls on Thursday night, 95-92 in Game 6 of this first-round playoff series. The decisive Game 7 -- Brooklyn's first in any major sport since 1956 -- is set for Saturday night at Barclays Center.

It wasn't pretty. It wasn't convincing. But it was enough. The Nets have battled all the way back from the 3-1 hole they dug themselves into on Saturday, when they imploded in the final minutes of regulation in Game 4 and made that depressing journey home.

"We were here last Saturday and we weren't looking real good," Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said.

"We haven't turned the corner, but we're looking a lot better than we looked when we left here.

"I'm really proud of our guys."

Two-hundred and 10 NBA teams have fallen behind 3-1 in a best-of- seven playoff series, which is the predicament the Nets were in after they imploded late in Game 4.

Now, according to Elias Sports, the Nets have become the 29th team in league history to push their respective series to a Game 7 after facing that deficit.

If they win, the Nets would become only the ninth team in league history to overcome a 3-1 series deficit.

But getting this far was made incredibly difficult by a Bulls team severely hampered by injury and illness. …

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