Just one week ago, fresh off one of the craziest games in recent memory, the Chicago Bulls led their series with the Brooklyn Nets three games to one. It seemed the Bulls would certainly win the series and face the Miami Heat in the second round.
But then Chicago’s season-long foe reared its ugly head: Kirk Hinrich went down with a leg injury. Between games five and six, Taj Gibson and Nate Robinson came down with the flu and Luol Deng briefly was hospitalized with a viral meningitis scare. Just like that, the Bulls lead evaporated.
Now, it comes down to one game to decide who will earn the right to be trampled by the Heat on their way to the NBA Finals. On the Nets’ side, Deron Williams has been mostly solid all series, Brook Lopez has been the best player at any given time in the series, bar none, and Joe Johnson has been mostly decent. For the Bulls, Deng and Hinrich might have to miss the game, Joakim Noah seems much better after suffering from plantar fasciitis for the last month or so and it’s hard to say whether Gibson or Robinson will be at full strength Saturday.
Marco Belinelli filled in quite well for Deng Thursday, but the Bulls desperately need Hinrich or Deng’s defense to match up with Williams and Johnson. Jimmy Butler is a quality defender, but he can only guard one of the two at any given time.
Game seven will begin at 7 p.m. CST on TNT.