Nets – Bulls Series: Without Kirk Hinrich, There’s No Chance

Nate Robinson

Kirk Hinrich might not be as explosive as Nate Robinson, but he’s a much better defender when it comes to limiting Deron Williams, and has a notion or two on how to run an offense instead of simply improvising and hoping for the best. The Brooklyn Nets have now won in Chicago, forcing the Bulls to travel back to New York and play in a game 7, hoping that Hinrich will be healthy by that time.

Deron Williams was one of three Nets players to score 17 points (also adding 11 assists), leading the Nets to a 95-92 win. During the first four games of the series, with Hinrich doing most of the guarding (including 60 minutes on the floor in Game 4), Williams was 13-of-39 from the floor and had nine turnovers. With Nate Robinson covering him, Williams has so far scored 36 points on 50% from the field and getting quite often to the line, not missing a single shot (8-8).

The Bulls type of scrappy offense can’t last for long, not without offense, consistent one. Their starters did well, led by Marco Belinelli with 22 points and followed by 18 from Robinson and 17 from Jimmy Butler, but the bench added only 7 points, as the bench mob from last season seems like a distant, forgotten dream, and the team shot only 40.4% from the field.

Deron Williams

Not that the Nets played any “prettier”, with Brook Lopez struggling in the paint against Noah and a long set of disturbing arms, scoring 17 but shooting only 7-18 from the field. But they have more talent and more players who can somehow make something happen. Andray Blatche scored 10 points off the bench, and his contribution in the closing minutes was what sealed the game for the Nets and tied the series at 3-3.

The Bulls are doing what they can – Noah finished with 14 points, 15 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 blocks, becoming only the second Bulls player to pull off such a stat line over the last 40 years. But without an organized offense, it’s not going too well. Without anyone putting a body on Williams, the defense can’t keep the team in the game. Switching either Deng or Butler to defend Williams creates even more mismatches. The problem is they can’t give up on Robinson offensively, the only player on the team capable of creating his own shot.

Hinrich might be back for game 7, but that’s only wishful thinking at the moment. Unless someone, and there aren’t too many players on this team who can do it on their own, comes up with some huge offensive night, the series looks like it’s heading in the direction of the Nets.

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