ALIVE! Nets live to fight another day after Game 4 win (40096)
ALIVE! Nets live to fight another day after Game 4 win (40095)

The Nets are still alive, emerging from a three-game funk with a 110-91 win over the Bulls on Monday, cutting their best-of-seven series deficit to 3-2.

The Nets looked to be in control of things after a blowout win in Game 1, but the Bulls reached into their bag of tricks, relied on their vast playoff experience and beat the Nets three straight games for a commanding 3-1 lead.

We noted after Game 3 that the Nets’ lack of playoff experience and urgency was the main culprit. That wasn’t the case in Game 4, as the Nets had five players in double figures and out-rebounded the Bulls 44-33.

“A lot of guys played well,” said Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo. “We got a huge lift from the bench.”

But was it just a throwaway game for the Bulls? It wasn’t exactly a vintage Bulls performance, as the Nets shot 50 percent from the field and had their way in the paint. The Nets were aided by the absence of Kirk Hinrich, who hurt his left calf in the Bulls’ 142-134 triple overtime win in Game 3 Saturday and didn’t play on Monday.

Hinrich may not play in Game 6 in Chicago tonight (Thursday), but it may not matter. The Bulls are 12-0 all-time when leading a series 3-1, and only eight teams in NBA history have come back from a 3-1 deficit. You better believe the Bulls are going to be ready to close out the series.

“You’ve got to give credit when credit is due and now it’s on us to come back and be ready for Game 6,” Joakim Noah said.

Do the Nets have the fortitude to win Game 6 on the road? As we have mentioned, outside of Joe Johnson and Deron Williams, there are few Nets with any real playoff experience. That lack of experience showed on Saturday, when the Nets blew a 14-point lead with 3:14 left to play. However, Gerald Wallace is still confident the Nets can win the series.

“Our backs are against the wall,” said Wallace.”We’ve got a fighting spirit and we’re a fighting team and not ready to go home. … We just let some games slip away.”

Nonetheless, another bad ending for the Nets and the series will slip away.