So even though Luol Deng, Taj Gibson and Nate Robinson all are feeling the effects of a flu bug, the Nets will operate with the game plan they have prepared. Not only that, but Kirk Hinrich is out for the second consecutive game with a calf injury.
The official lineup handed out 30 minutes before game time had Deng and Robinson in the starting lineup. Deng was later ruled out.
“We feature the same guys; it’s not that we will go more at a particular matchup,” interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said. “It’s no secret. They know who we’re going to go to and we have a decent idea who they’re going to go to. The players who are on the floor will decide the game.”
Because the Bulls have been known to react like a cornered wild animal and put up a formidable attack when they have been shorthanded, the Nets plan to have heightened awareness.
“I think they’re a deep team,” Carlesimo said. “I think they’re very well coached and frankly they’ve been dealing with this the whole year. This has been like a medevac unit the whole year, starting with their franchise player [Derrick Rose] not playing.
“It seems like every time we play them it’s a slightly different roster. But it also hasn’t mattered. They’ve been dealing with them all year and particularly in this building it’s not going to change the game. The game’s not going to get any easier. It will be a war and hopefully we can find a way to get one more point.”
BOOZER WATCH: The Nets found a way to cut Carlos Boozer’s shot attempts in half in Game 5, but they don’t expect that trend to continue. As one of the few Bulls players feeling 100 percent healthy, Boozer figures to be a big part of the offense.
What was the key defending Boozer in Game 5, when he was held to just eight field goal attempts and 10 points?
“I didn’t have the feeling that we locked him up or we denied him the ball or anything like that,” Carlesimo said. “They were getting good shots. It wasn’t like they weren’t getting good shots. It was a one-point game late in the game. So I just think it was the way the game flowed. I would be fairly comfortable predicting he will get more than eight shots tonight.”
PACE SETTERS: Getting out in transition has been the Nets’ strategy the entire series and with the chance to expose some Bulls players that are fighting illness, that plan is even more vital in Game 6.
“That’s what we’ve been trying to do anyhow,” Carlesimo said. “We’re also to the point where it’s getting to be the end of the marathon. We want to play (that way) but we’re also fatiguing ourselves a little bit. But still it’s the way we want to play and if it becomes a war of attrition hopefully there is a slight advantage to us.”