Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Bulls' win Robinson's affair

Scores 34 as Chicago wipes out late 14-point deficit

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CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bulls were down and just about out in this one. Go figure, Nate Robinson led them back.

Robinson scored 34 points, and Chicago wiped out a 14-point deficit late in regulation and beat the Brooklyn Nets 142-134 in triple overtime Saturday to take a 3-1 lead in the first-round playoff series.

The Bulls were trailing 109-95 in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter when Robinson went on one of his tears, carrying his team to an improbable victory with a stretch that reminded the streaky point guard of a video game.

"I always think I'm on fire, kind of like the old school game NBA Jam," he said. "You make a couple in a row, the rim's on fire. You shoot the ball, the ball's on fire. I feel like that at times -- all the time. Whenever I'm in the game, I just play with a lot of confidence. You kind of have to lie to yourself and feel like you can't miss."

There's the rub with Robinson.

He'll rush shots. He'll miss. He'll make his coach cringe and every Bulls fan groan, but then, he'll do something like this.

Robinson scored all but five of his points after the third quarter, including the first 12 in a 14-0 run that wiped out Brooklyn's late lead. Then, with 2 seconds left in the first overtime, he banked in a go-ahead jumper over Deron Williams.

Joe Johnson answered with one of his own to send it to another overtime, tied at 121. The Bulls had a chance to win in the closing seconds of the second extra session, but Joakim Noah was blocked, and the game went to a third OT.

The Bulls finally pulled away after Williams (32 points) drove for a layup to pull Brooklyn to 133-130 with 3 minutes left. The basket accounted for Williams' only points after regulation.

Luol Deng then scored to make it a five-point game, and Nazr Mohammed hit two shots in the final 32 seconds to help preserve the win.

He converted a jump hook, then grabbed the rebound and scored with 19 seconds left after Carlos Boozer made a free throw and missed the second, making it 140-134.

The Bulls will try to wrap up the best-of-seven series at Brooklyn on Monday. The Nets are going to have to dig deep to win three in a row after they wasted a prime chance to draw even and steal back home-court advantage.

Brooklyn was leading by 14 after a dunk by Gerald Wallace with 3:45 left in the fourth. C.J. Watson then stole the ball and was all alone for a breakaway dunk, but he missed.

Robinson nailed a 3 with 2:53 remaining, and that got the tying run started. Boozer finished it with a layup with about 55 seconds left.

Brook Lopez then hit two free throws, but the Bulls tied it again when Noah put back his own miss with 23 seconds left. Williams missed a jumper and Wallace had his layup blocked by Jimmy Butler with a second left, sending the game into overtime.

"We made a lot of mistakes up 14," Williams said. "It was so long ago, I can't remember what all went on. We had the missed dunk. Missed free throws. I fouled Nate on the 3. We made a lot of mistakes in the fourth quarter."

Robinson came close to missing the second half and overtimes altogether.

He and Watson got tangled up in the second quarter and went crashing into the scorers' table in the second quarter. They exchanged shoves, but the referees decided not to eject them.

"(Robinson) hit big shot after big shot," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "That's what makes him so valuable. We got him going and he had a great run. He just played a great game."

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 28, 2013 B11

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