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Joyce’s Favorite Things from Bulls/Nets Game 4

April 29, 2013

Quintessential Nate Robinson (photo credit: N8 Rob’s Facebook)

Over the weekend, Bulls and Nets fans alike were taken hostage for four hours and played witness to what will become an NBA playoff game classic. To say that the last few games were offensively-challenged would be an understatement and yet, somehow in game 4 both the Bulls and Nets came out guns-blazing, trading shot after shot. I could barely recognize this Bulls squad – WHERE WAS ALL THIS EFFICIENT OFFENSE COMING FROM?

The game has been recapped excellently here, here, and here so I’ll leave that to the pros. In the meantime, I wanted to recount some of my favorite moments from the game, of which there were many:

  1. Thibs chatting up the ref [for which I cannot find a clip of – get on this, internets!]. “You look good.” Who says Thibs doesn’t have a sense of humor?
  2. Nate and CJ getting into it. Up until now, I haven’t really felt like there was much animosity between the two teams. From a professional standpoint, it’s probably for the best that neither time has gotten into it but goddammit, I want some drama!

    For me, part of the reason as to why the Bulls/Celtics round 1 series in 2009 was so good was because, outside of Boston, no one likes the Celtics. Don’t even try to deny it. I remember Rondo flinging Kirk into the scorer’s table. Rondo [flagrantly] hard fouling Brad Miller. Really, just Rondo being a complete and utter asshole. Without KG in the line-up, the two teams were pretty evenly matched and add in a healthy dousing of utter dislike from both ends and it made for a deliciously juicy series.

    In the Bulls/Nets series, it’s been pretty ‘meh’ on that end. Enter Nate Robinson. Him and CJ Watson have been chirping away at each other the last few games but I really didn’t think much of it. Until they decided to get tangled up in the first half and ending with players, refs, and coaches all having to separate the two. The two smallest guys on either team going at it? I love it. I think it really pumped up the crowd and got ’em going [until the refs decided to call fouls on both Nate and CJ immediately after, forcing them to sit].

  3. Nater’s gonna Nate. When the Bulls were down 14 with less than 3 minutes to go, I distinctly remembering muting the television and just closing my eyes because there was no way the Bulls were going to make up that deficit in such a short span of time. 14 points felt more like 40. Nate scored the first two points of what would eventually become a 14-0 run but I still thought it would be virtually impossible to catch up. But then he somehow kept making shot after shot after shot. It was abso-fucking-utely astounding.He would eventually score 23 points in the 4th quarter, just 1 point shy of Michael Jordan’s franchise record for points scored in a fourth quarter. That’s right. N8 Rob.For most of the second half, the Bulls seemed lethargic and in real danger of going back to Brooklyn 2-2. To use a basketball cliche, Nate flippin’ Robinson was the spark off the bench and saved this team. Like many Bulls fans, I never thought I’d say this but thank god for the little guy.
  4. Boozington! I know, I know. WTF. But you know what, the man was on fire in this game [and pretty much the whole series]. In 50 minutes of action, he was 10-16 for 21 points and 8 assists – and finished a pass from N8 Rob, switching hands to toss in the ball no less!, to tie the game. For an oft-maligned man, he actually FINISHED THE PLAY and is earning his paycheck this series.
  5.  JimMMEHHHH’s denial of Gerald Wallace [via Blogabull] at the end of regulation to prevent the put-back and the Nets winning the game. Lost in all of the N8 Rob love was Jimmy Butler’s excellent block on Wallace after Deron missed the potential game-winning 3. It seemed like Wallace had an easy tip-in but Jimmy jumped on in there and blocked the shit out of that. Quintessential Jimmehhhhhhh.
  6. None of the Nets players bothering to box out Nazr which resulted in Nazr grabbing the rebound after Boozer’s missed free throw, throwing the shot up, MAKING IT, and getting fouled in the process. He then proceeded to make his free throw [praise baby Jesus that someone on this team can actually make them] and ice the game. 60 years old and still gettin’ it!
  7. Nate’s podium game.

I tweeted earlier in the game that this would not end well for the Bulls. How so very wrong of me to ever doubt #Thibsball. With Kirk Hinrich out tonight, it would be so easy to resort to the easy pessimism that things don’t look good for the Bulls. But if I’ve learned anything about this Bulls squad, particularly these last few months, they’ve still got a few tricks up their sleeves.



p.s. I know people will be all like, ‘how could you not include CJ’s missed dunk?’ which happened right before Nate went on his ridiculous streak but honestly, I just felt bad for CJ. I know, I know – it makes no sense but just chalk it up to secondhand embarrassment.

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