The Nets were anything but gutless in Game 6.
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They weren’t perfect either, but they made enough plays to keep their season going for at least two more days.
Even with Chicago’s defense on lockdown mode in the fourth quarter and even with free throws missed at a disturbing rate, the Nets found a way in Thursday’s 95-92 win at the United Center.
It was hard to stomach sometimes, with Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson a combined 3-for-17 with five turnovers after halftime and an 11-of-23 performance from the line. The Nets scored just 35 points in the second half.
Andray Blatche, who scored 13 points in Game 5, came up big again. He had 10 points in Game 6, including a spinning fadeaway shot on Joakim Noah with 1:15 left and two free throws with 19.2 remaining to provide the final margin.
All of the talk about being gutless surfaced again when TNT’s Charles Barkley said it on the halftime show because the Nets had a six-point halftime lead instead of double digits. While they could have been ahead by more after shooting well in the half, having a lead in the United Center was a victory of sorts, especially considering how the previous four visits went.
Johnson, Williams and Lopez had 17 points apiece. Gerald Wallace had 15, including a 3-pointer early in the fourth that gave the Nets a 78-73 edge and provided them with the breathing room they ultimately would need.
Chicago played without Kirk Hinrich (calf) and Luol Deng (illness). Belinelli led the Bulls with 21 points. Nate Robinson had 18, Jimmy Butler added 17 and Carlos Boozer and Noah added 14 apiece.
Follow Nets beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.