Nets 110, Bulls 91
Flourishing instead of fading in the fourth quarter, the Nets extended their first season in Brooklyn.
They need one more victory to set up the biggest game here yet.
Brook Lopez had 28 points and 10 rebounds, Deron Williams added 23 points and 10 assists, and the Nets beat Chicago on Monday night, cutting the Bulls' lead to 3-2 in their first-round playoff series.
Recovering from a collapse two days earlier that sent them home on the brink of elimination instead of tied, the Nets battered the Bulls on the boards and forced Chicago into being the team that wilted down the stretch.
"We came out very aggressive, as we have the past few games. I think the difference was just we sustained it for essentially a full 48 minutes tonight," Lopez said.
Andray Blatche scored 10 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter and Gerald Wallace had consecutive baskets in the finishing surge as the Nets finally pulled away in a game they led most of the way, but never by too much.
Two days after rallying for a 142-134 triple-overtime victory, the Bulls were outscored 15-1 at the finish and failed to set up a second-round series with Miami. Instead they will host Game 6 on Thursday.
"It was just a lot of mental mistakes. A lot of mental mistakes," Bulls center Joakim Noah said. "I feel like we had our chances. We beat ourselves. They played well. 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."
If the Nets win that one, they would host Game 7 on Saturday.
Nate Robinson had 20 points and eight assists starting in place of point guard Kirk Hinrich, who bruised his left calf in Saturday's game.
"For us, I knew it was going to be tough; it was going to be a challenge," Robinson said. "At the same time, we've been here before playing with a guy short. It's something we've got to do. We've just got to muster something and bring that energy and continue to play like we've been playing."
Only eight NBA teams have overcome a 3-1 deficit, but the Nets remained confident after Saturday's collapse, feeling they had outplayed the Bulls for long stretches during the series. They have led by double digits in four of the five games.
"I believed that we would respond," Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "We've bounced back all year too well, and as disheartening a loss as that was on Saturday, there's still been enough good minutes in this series. Neither of us are getting away from each other."
Robinson scored 29 of his 34 points after the third quarter Saturday in a game the Nets led by 14 late in regulation. Coming off his big game and agitating to opposing fans even when he's struggling, Robinson was loudly booed during introductions, and each time he touched the ball early on.
He made a jumper with 4:17 remaining to cut Brooklyn's lead to 95-90, but there would be no charge this time. Lopez converted a three-point play, and after a free throw by Jimmy Butler, Wallace nailed a 3-pointer, then came up with a steal and dunk to give the Nets a 103-91 advantage with 2 minutes to go.
Wallace scored 12 points and Reggie Evans grabbed 12 rebounds as the Nets improved to 6-0 all-time in Game 5s at home. They have never lost a series when holding home-court advantage.
Joe Johnson and C.J. Watson each scored 11 points.
Hawks 102, Pacers 91
Josh Smith scored 29 points as Atlanta built a 17-point lead at halftime, then withstood an Indiana comeback over the final two quarters to even the series with a victory in Game 4.
After struggling much of the second half, Smith made every big play down the stretch. He swished a rare 3-pointer, came up with an offensive rebound to set up a 3 by Kyle Korver, then finished off a fast break with a right-handed dunk.
Paul George scored 18 of his 21 points in the second half as the Pacers made a game of it but couldn't come back from a 57-40 deficit at the break
Rockets 105, Thunder 103
The Rockets escaped elimination when Chandler Parsons scored 27 points and Patrick Beverley added 16 points with point guard Jeremy Lin out with a bruised chest muscle. Houston avoided a four-game sweep in the best-of-seven series.
The Rockets led in the fourth quarter of each of the last two games only to end up losing. And it almost happened again Monday.
Kevin Durant scored five quick points to cut the Rockets' lead to two. James Harden missed two shots for Houston after that and the Thunder had a last chance.
Reggie Jackson missed a jump shot and Serge Ibaka grabbed the rebound, but missed a layup at the buzzer.
A stunned Ibaka fell to the court after the miss.
Durant scored 38 points in Oklahoma City's second game without injured All-Star guard Russell Westbrook.
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