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NBA Playoffs: Rockets and Nets survive, Hawks even series

By Kristie Rieken

Associated Press

Published: Monday, April 29 2013 11:03 p.m. MDT

Only eight NBA teams have overcome a 3-1 deficit, but the Nets remained confident after Saturday's collapse, feeling they had outplayed the Bulls for long stretches during the series. They have led by double digits in four of the five games.

"I believed that we would respond," Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "We've bounced back all year too well, and as disheartening a loss as that was on Saturday, there's still been enough good minutes in this series. Neither of us are getting away from each other."

But they need two more wins against a Bulls franchise that is 12-0 all-time when holding a 3-1 lead.

"We feel like we're the better team," Wallace said. "We've just got to play a 48-minute game completely and stay in attack mode."

Robinson scored 29 of his 34 points 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 remaining to cut Brooklyn's lead to 95-90, but there would be no charge this time. Lopez converted a three-point play, and after a free throw by Butler, Wallace nailed a 3-pointer, then came up with a steal and dunk to give the Nets a 103-91 advantage with 2 minutes to go.

The Nets finished it off with ease, prolonging their first season since moving from New Jersey.

The Nets ran off seven straight points late in the first quarter, five from Lopez, to turn a 17-17 tie into a 24-17 lead.

Brooklyn got eight second-quarter points from Kris Humphries, then opened its biggest lead when Johnson and Wallace made consecutive 3-pointers before Lopez made two free throws to make it 50-40. The Nets led 52-44 at the break.

The Nets had the lead into double digits a few times in the third quarter but never built on it. The Bulls were back within four by the end of the period after making 11 of 16 shots (69 percent).

Butler made a 3-pointer to open the fourth quarter and make it a one-point game, but Chicago never could grab the lead in the final period.

Wallace scored 12 points and Reggie Evans grabbed 12 rebounds as the Nets improved to 6-0 all-time in Game 5s at home. They have never lost a series when holding home-court advantage.

Notes: Carlesimo said it wasn't hard to ignore thoughts about his own future because the games come too quickly to worry about anything else. Though the Nets gave general manager Billy King a contract extension last week, it is unknown if Carlesimo will be back after leading the Nets to a 35-19 mark after replacing the fired Avery Johnson in late December. ... A number of New York Islanders were in the crowd at the franchise's future home. The NHL team plans to move from Long Island to Barclays Center in 2015.

Follow Brian Mahoney on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Briancmahoney


ATLANTA — Heading to his locker to get dressed, Josh Smith griped a bit when told he would have to go to the podium for the second game in a row.

Then he smiled.

No way the Atlanta Hawks forward was getting out of those duties. Not after the way he played Monday night.

Smith scored a career playoff-best 29 points as the Hawks built a 17-point lead at halftime, then withstood an Indiana comeback to even the series with a 102-91 victory in Game 4.

"You da one, Smoove," teammate Dahntay Jones said as he walked by Smith's locker. "You da one."

The one, indeed. After struggling much of the second half, the enigmatic Smith made every big play down the stretch. He swished a rare 3-pointer, came up with an offensive rebound to set up a 3 by Kyle Korver, and finished off a fast break with a right-handed dunk. Plus, he did another stout defensive job on Indiana star Paul George, who had to work for every one of his 21 points.

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