Actually, as it turned out, they were.
Brooks had nine of his 13 points in the fourth quarter, and the Nets survived the Chicago Bulls, 93-89, on Friday night at Barclays Center. Andray Blatche added all of his points (11), rebounds (three) and assists (three) in the final period for the Nets (28-19), who rebounded from their 20-point loss to the Miami Heat on Wednesday night.
The Bulls (28-18) were without Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer, Kirk Hinrich, and, obviously, Derrick Rose, but fought hard, at one point leading by as many as six. But Brooks and Blatche carried Brooklyn to victory in the fourth.
The Nets, who shot 52 percent from the field, scored 56 points in the paint and outrebounded the Bulls, 40-29. They are now 11-19 against .500-or-better teams (at time of game played), 14-5 under Carlesimo.
DISASTER AVERTED: Deron Williams appeared to severely tweak his right ankle late in the second quarter after stepping on Nate Robinson’s foot. Williams had to be helped into the locker room, but warmed up and returned in the second half, though he was limping. Williams finished with 11 points and six assists on 4-for-12 shooting in 36 minutes.
BROOK AND JOE: Brook Lopez had another dominant outing, posting 20 points and four rebounds. It was his team-leading 21st 20-point game this season -- seventh in his last 10 games. He did not play in the fourth. Joe Johnson, coming off a 4-for-15 performance against the Heat, chipped in 13 points. He delivered a deep 3-pointer from the right wing to give the Nets an 86-80 lead late in the fourth.
PEEVED P.J.: Carlesimo ripped in his team in a huddle during the third quarter, trying to instill some life into his lifeless group.
TECHS: Gerald Wallace picked one up a technical foul after elbowing Richard Hamilton in the third quarter. Andray Blatche was assessed a T for arguing with the officials in the second. Coach Tom Thibodeau and Hamilton picked up techs late in the third.
REGGIE! REGGIE! Reggie Evans, who didn’t make any brazen comments before Friday night’s game, finished with eight points and seven rebounds. Evans, who had six points in the first quarter, had not scored in his previous two games and had scored only one in the last three.
CRASH POWER: Gerald Wallace (six points, 13 rebounds) played the entire second half at power forward. Meanwhile, Kris Humphries played just seven minutes and has logged nine in his last two games.
YUCK: The Nets jumped out to a 24-14 lead in the first quarter, holding the Bulls to 27.8 percent shooting. But Brooklyn’s bench was ineffective in the second quarter, which allowed Chicago to come back and take a 42-41 lead to the break. The Nets had five turnovers in the second.
ONE IN A MILLION: Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov came out at center court to honor the 1 millionth guest to come through the turnstiles at Barclays Center.
UP NEXT: Nets vs. Lakers on Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m.