The game started out well for the Nets as they hit five out of their first eight shots, but their offense quickly went south. After the hot start, the team converted just nine of their next 46 shots.
Brook Lopez picked up his second foul with 6:25 remaining in the first quarter and was removed the game. The offense became non existent quickly as Brooklyn did not score for the remainder of the period.
Carlos Boozer led the Bulls with 12 points in the first half and most of those points were from jumpshots. It became apparent that Reggie Evans was not comfortable with chasing him on the perimeter, and that is a weakness that the Bulls have exploited.
Though Evans is a plus-defender and one of the game's best rebounders, he was on the bench in the game's final minutes. And benching him is something P.J. Carlesimo may have to consider doing more of.
Boozer was averaging 19 points and 10 rebounds through the first two games of the series and in Game 3, added 22 points and 16 rebounds.
In Game 2 and Game 3, the Nets have also had a problem scoring the basketball. With Gerald Wallace and Evans both starting, the Nets are starting two offensive liabilities. Wallace should start since the Nets need his defense on the perimeter. It would not be wise to have either Deron Williams or Joe Johnson chase Luol Deng around the perimeter, off of screens.
So, the Nets may be wise to limit Evans' minutes.
By sticking with the two of them, Carlesimo is costing the Nets precious possessions. Playing 5-on-3 on one end of the floor for large portions of the game is not a winning recipe. The coaching staff has taken their chances with that lineup, but it has not worked in the last two games and the Nets must adjust.
The Nets began the fourth, trailing by 13 points, but with Wallace and Evans both sitting the entire quarter, the Nets managed to shoot 11-for-20 and had their best quarter of the game.
As a team, they held the Bulls to just four points over the final 6:30 of the fourth quarter. More importantly, they were able to score points with MarShon Brooks and C.J. Watson playing with Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Lopez late in the game.
Having Brooks and Watson on the floor allowed the Nets to penetrate and get the ball inside to Lopez, who scored 10 points in the final period. In the fourth, offensively, the Nets looked like a different team, and their smaller lineup probably had something to do with it.
The Bulls actually had to guard Brooks, Johnson and Williams and could not sag off of Evans or Wallace. It made a big difference.
The Nets made a valiant run late in the game, but in the end, it was too much to overcome. The hole that shooting 22 percent in the first half left them in was too deep. They ended the game shooting a putrid 35 percent.
In the fourth, the Nets outscored the Bulls 24-14, and had an opportunity to send the game to overtime, but Watson's 3-pointer at the buzzer missed.
Carlesimo may have found something late in Game 3. Moving forward, and especially with Game 4 on Saturday, he would be wise to take a hard look at his rotations.
Sacrificing some minutes for Wallace and Evans may hurt the Nets on the defensive end, but scoring the ball is where they seem to need the biggest jolt.
Game 4 tips off on Saturday at 2:00 P.M. ET.