Entering game 6 of the Chicago Bulls‘ first round series against the Brooklyn Nets, there was a sense that the team had to win instead of being forced to play a game 7 in Brooklyn. The Chicago Bulls had won three straight games since losing game 1 to the Nets, and on Thursday, the team was hoping to secure a series’ victory against the Nets after losing on Monday.
Though, before game 6 even started for the Bulls, the odds were not in the team’s favor. Chicago Bulls’ point guard Kirk Hinrich remains sidelined because of bruised left calf and was not available for game 6, however, that was not the only concern for the Bulls. The flu has reportedly been going around the Bulls’ locker-room and the two players most impacted by the bug were small forward Luol Deng and point guard Nate Robinson. Deng was unable to play for the Bulls in game 6, but Robinson overcame his illness and played for the Bulls in game 6.
Robinson, who was seen on the sidelines throwing up during timeouts, scored 18 points for the Bulls who came up short against the Nets on Thursday. Behind solid contributions from their starting five, the Nets defeated the Bulls 95-92 to force a game 7 on Saturday.
Deron Williams was once again was the top performer for the Nets. Williams scored 17 points for the Nets on Thursday while also dishing out 11 assists. Nets’ center Brook Lopez and shooting guard Joe Johnson also scored 17 points for the Nets. Gerald Wallace scored 15 points while Reggie Evans gathered 15 rebounds in the Nets’ victory on Thursday.
For the Bulls, the team’s starting five scored 85 of the team’s 92 points. Shooting guard Marco Belinelli was the leading scorer for the Bulls with 22 points. Small forward Jimmy Butler, who played the entire game for the Bulls, scored 17 points to go along with 7 rebounds. Center Joakim Noah and power forward Carlos Boozer each scored 14 points to go along with 15 and 13 rebounds respectively. Taj Gibson, Nazr Mohammed, and Marquis Teague combined to score 7 points for the Bulls while playing off the bench.
The Bulls and Nets now play in game 7 on Saturday. For the Bulls, the team should hope that Hinrich is able to play. When Hinrich is on the court for the Bulls, there is a noticeable difference in the effort of the team. In addition, Hinrich has been successful in limiting the impact that Williams has for the Nets this series. The key for the Bulls in game 7 will be whether or not Hinrich is able to play. If Hinrich is playing for the Bulls in game 7, then that may spell good fortunes for the team.