Sunday, December 17, 2017

Nets pull away to remain alive

NEW YORK — The Nets' first season in Brooklyn goes on, with another victory needed to set up the biggest game here yet.

Brook Lopez had 28 points and 10 rebounds, Deron Williams added 23 points and 10 assists and the Nets beat Chicago 110-91 on Monday night, cutting the Bulls' lead to 3-2 in their first-round playoff series.

Andray Blatche scored 10 of his 13 in the fourth quarter and Gerald Wallace had consecutive baskets down the stretch as the Nets finally pulled away in a game they led most of the way, but never by too much.

"We came out very aggressive, as we have the past few games. I think the difference was just we sustained it for essentially a full 48 minutes," Lopez said.

Two days after rallying for a 142-134 triple-overtime victory, the Bulls were outscored 15-1 down the stretch and failed to set up a second-round series with Heat. Instead they will host Game 6 on Thursday.

Nate Robinson had 20 points and eight assists starting in place of point guard Kirk Hinrich, who bruised his left calf Saturday.

Robinson scored 29 of his 34 after the third quarter Saturday in a game the Nets led by 14 late in regulation. Coming off his big game and agitating to opposing fans even when he's struggling, Robinson was loudly booed during introductions, and each time he touched the ball early on.

He made a jumper with 4:17 left to cut Brooklyn's lead to 95-90, but there would be no charge this time. Lopez converted a three-point play, and after Jimmy Butler's free throw Wallace hit a 3-pointer then came up with a steal and dunk to give the Nets a 103-91 advantage with two minutes left.

The Nets finished it off with ease, extending their first season in Brooklyn after moving from New Jersey.

Butler scored 18 for the Bulls, who were outrebounded 44-33 and gave up 24 second-chance points.

"That's the difference in the game, the rebounding," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "If you defend fairly well and then you give a team a second and a third crack at it, it's hard to win like that."

Hawks even series

ATLANTA — Josh Smith scored 29 as the Hawks built a 17-point halftime lead then withstood a second-half Pacers comeback to even the series with a 102-91 victory in Game 4.

After struggling much of the second half, Smith made several big plays down the stretch. He swished a rare 3-pointer, came up with an offensive rebound to set up a 3 by Kyle Korver then finished a fast break with a right-handed dunk.

Paul George scored 18 of his 21 in the second half as Indiana made a game of it but couldn't come back from a 57-40 deficit at the break.

Korver added 19 points off the bench, most coming on his specialty: the 3-pointer. He sank five, including the biggest one with 2:33 left after former Gator Al Horford threw up a wild shot that missed. Smith snatched one of his 11 rebounds and spotted Korver alone on the outside.

Atlanta center Johan Petro played, returning from Miami on a private jet after witnessing the birth of his first child. Jacob Petro was born about 2 p.m., and his father made it to Phillips Arena about two hours before tipoff.

Kings move unlikely

In an emotional saga that has dragged on for nearly three years, the Sacramento Kings finally appear to be staying put in California's capital city.

The NBA's relocation committee voted unanimously to recommend that owners reject the application for the Kings to relocate to Seattle, by far the strongest in a long line of cities that almost landed the franchise. The committee made the decision over a conference call and forwarded the recommendation to the NBA Board of Governors.

The board, which consists of all 30 owners, will convene during the week of May 13 to vote on the matter. Though the recommendation doesn't guarantee the Kings will stay put, it's difficult to imagine how they don't.

Moments after the league announced the committee's recommendation, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson wrote on Twitter: "That's what I'm talking about SACRAMENTO!!!!! WE DID IT!!!!!"

At a packed pep rally at a downtown restaurant, fans serenaded Johnson with chants of "Sac-ra-mento!" He called the recommendation a "big day for the city of Sacramento" but stopped short of declaring victory. "We do not want to dance in the end zone. We do not want to celebrate prematurely," he said.

Nets 110, Bulls 91

CHICAGO (91): Deng 6-14 0-0 12, Boozer 4-8 2-2 10, Noah 4-8 3-4 11, Robinson 9-19 1-2 20, Butler 5-9 5-8 18, Mohammed 2-6 2-2 6, Belinelli 4-5 0-0 8, Teague 1-2 0-0 2, Gibson 2-3 0-0 4, Thomas 0-0 0-0 0, Cook 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 37-75 13-18 91.

BROOKLYN (110): Wallace 5-8 0-0 12, Evans 2-6 0-0 4, Lopez 11-20 6-7 28, Williams 6-14 9-10 23, Johnson 5-11 0-0 11, Watson 4-8 2-3 11, Blatche 5-8 3-3 13, Brooks 0-0 0-0 0, Humphries 4-8 0-0 8, Taylor 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 42-84 20-23 110.

Chicago 21 23 29 18— 91

Brooklyn 26 26 25 33— 110

3-Point GoalsChicago 4-12 (Butler 3-4, Robinson 1-5, Deng 0-3), Brooklyn 6-17 (Wallace 2-4, Williams 2-4, Watson 1-4, Johnson 1-5). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsChicago 39 (Boozer 10), Brooklyn 49 (Evans 12). AssistsChicago 20 (Robinson 8), Brooklyn 19 (Williams 10). Total FoulsChicago 20, Brooklyn 19. TechnicalsChicago defensive three second. Flagrant Fouls—Belinelli. A17,732 (17,732).

Hawks 102, Pacers 91

INDIANA (91): George 6-16 6-8 21, West 5-14 5-5 15, Hibbert 6-11 2-2 14, Hill 4-15 4-4 12, Stephenson 4-9 1-2 10, T.Hansbrough 2-5 1-2 5, Green 1-3 0-0 3, Augustin 3-7 0-0 8, Mahinmi 1-4 1-2 3. Totals 32-84 20-25 91.

ATLANTA (102): Smith 9-20 9-16 29, Horford 6-14 6-8 18, Petro 2-7 0-0 4, Teague 3-8 7-8 13, Harris 3-10 1-2 8, I.Johnson 0-1 2-4 2, Korver 7-11 0-0 19, Tolliver 3-3 0-0 9, Stevenson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 33-74 25-38 102.

Indiana 21 19 22 29— 91

Atlanta 22 35 12 33— 102

3-Point GoalsIndiana 7-23 (George 3-7, Augustin 2-3, Green 1-2, Stephenson 1-3, West 0-2, Hill 0-6), Atlanta 11-24 (Korver 5-8, Tolliver 3-3, Smith 2-5, Harris 1-6, Teague 0-2). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsIndiana 53 (George 12), Atlanta 58 (Smith 11). AssistsIndiana 22 (Stephenson 8), Atlanta 24 (Teague, Harris 6). Total FoulsIndiana 28, Atlanta 25. A18,241 (18,729).

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Sunday’s sports on TV/radio

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