C.J. Watson is not the Nets player you expect to take maybe the biggest shot of your season.
The Nets lost to the Bulls in Chicago, 79-76, in another physical contest similar to Game 2's Nets loss. Brooklyn made a furious charge late in the game, but a game-tying 3-point attempt by Watson missed at the buzzer.
The Nets are now behind in the series, 2-1, to Chicago with Game 3 to come on Saturday afternoon (2 p.m.).
Deron Williams, who made just one field goal in Game 2, was better in Game 3. But that wasn't saying much. He finished the game 5-of-14 for 18 points and four assists. Brook Lopez again led the team with 22 points. He added nine rebounds and seven blocks.
The Nets trailed 77-64 with 4:56 left in the game, but slowly chiseled away at the lead. Lopez made two free throws and then had back-to-back buckets to pull the deficit to single digits. Marshon Brooks then nailed a jumper to make it 77-72 in favor of the Bulls with two minutes left.
But the Nets struggled to keep up the momentum after the 8-0 run. Brooks missed a lay-up with 1:25 left and Williams missed a 3-pointer with 49 seconds left. Lopez had a dunk with 14 seconds left to make it 77-74. And after a Nate Robinson made 1-of-2 free throws, Williams hit a shot to make it 78-76 with just five seconds left.
Joakim Noah hit 1-of-2 from the line and Watson, not exactly the first candidate to take a game-tying shot, had his attempt rim out as the clock expired.
Carlos Boozer (22 points and 16 rebounds) and Luol Deng (21 points and 10 rebounds) both finished with double-doubles for Chicago.