Nets 127, Bulls 116, 2OT

Terrence Williams had a text message from north of the border

waiting for him after the New Jersey Nets’ stunning double-overtime

win over the Chicago Bulls.

“A couple of players from the Raptors that I know just texted

me and said: ‘Thank you,”’ said Williams, who refused to name

them. “It was like in my head: ‘Thank you for what?’ Then, oh, the

eighth spot and all that. It’s special because it came with a

win.”

Williams was certainly the catalyst in the Nets’ big win that

prevented the Bulls from taking over the final playoff spot in the

Eastern Conference.

He had a career-high 27 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists in

leading New Jersey to a 127-116 victory and becoming the first Nets

rookie to post a triple-double since 2001.

The Bulls’ loss coupled with the Raptors’ loss in Atlanta left

the teams tied for eighth in the conference with 38-41 records and

three games left in the regular season. The teams meet in Toronto

on Sunday. The Raptors have the tiebreaker should they finish with

the same record.

“I hope this makes us stronger, because we have to play tougher

to get into the playoffs,” said Derrick Rose, who had 25 points

before fouling out in the second overtime. “We just have to fight

through it. The next one is very important. We only have a small

amount of games and there is no room for error now.”

The Bulls easily could have won this game, one which they

rallied from a 12-point, fourth-quarter deficit.

However, they allowed Brook Lopez to slam home a rebound with

0.1 seconds left in regulation to tie the game and then blew a

seven-point lead with 69 seconds to go in the first overtime.

“We weren’t effective and let the game slip away,” Bulls coach

Vinny Del Negro said. “It was in hand and that’s what makes this

tough. We can’t hang our heads. We don’t have the time to do so.

But when the game is on the line, you have to be able to get it

done.”

The Nets (12-67) got the job done by scoring the final seven

points in the first overtime and the first seven in the second

extra session.

“It was a definite playoff atmosphere because we know how much

they needed this game,” said Nets point guard Devin Harris, who

hit a go-ahead jumper early in the second overtime. “Toronto lost

tonight, so it was really, really important for them, but we just

wanted to protect home court and finish the season on a high note,

so we are attacking every game.”

Lopez added 26 points and 14 rebounds, and Harris scored 19 as

the Nets won for the fifth time in nine games. Yi Jianlian chipped

in with 15 points and 12 rebounds.

Brad Miller scored a season-high 27 points with 10 rebounds for

the Bulls, who lost for only the fourth time in 11 games.

After Harris put New Jersey ahead for good, Williams hit a

jumper to stretch the lead to 116-112 with 3:12 to play. Harris hit

one free throw on the play Rose fouled out, then set up Yi for a

dunk with 2:19 to play that seemingly took the air out of the

Bulls, who were playing their second game in two nights.

“They beat us real bad at their place last week so that was

motivation for us,” Lopez said.

The Bulls nearly had the game locked up in the first overtime,

scoring the first seven points and eventually leading 112-105 with

1:07 to play.

New Jersey rallied, taking advantage of two turnovers by Rose in

the final minute. Lopez hit two free throws to tie the game at 112

with 12.8 seconds to play and Rose missed a fadeaway jumper at the

buzzer.

The Nets were in danger of losing in regulation before Lopez

made a spectacular rebound stuff of a missed floater by Courtney

Lee to tie it at 103.

The play was not without controversy, because replays seemed to

show the ball might have been on the cylinder when Lopez jammed it

home. Del Negro appealed for the officiating crew to review the

play, but it was not reviewable.

New Jersey used a 20-10 run bridging the end of the third

quarter and the start of the fourth to open an 87-76 lead on a

layup by Josh Boone. The Bulls outscored the Nets 17-7 in the final

4:42 of regulation, with Miller scoring 12 in the run.

Chicago, which had not led since early in the third quarter,

took a 100-99 lead when Joakim Noah tipped in a missed drive by

Rose for a 100-99 lead with 48.6 seconds to go.

A drive by Harris got New Jersey within 102-101 with 4.6 seconds

left and Rose left the door open, making 1 of 2 free throws with

3.6 seconds remaining in regulation. Lopez’s controversial stuff

forced the overtime.

NOTES: New Jersey won the season series 2-1. … Williams banked

in a running 35-foot 3-pointer to end the first quarter. … Nets

starting F Jarvis Hayes sprained his right ankle in the first

quarter and did not return. … Kenyon Martin was the last Nets

rookie to post a triple-double with 18 points, 15 rebounds and 11

assists on March 5, 2001 against Atlanta. … New Jersey had five

players with at least 15 or more points. It was New Jersey’s first

overtime game of the year and its highest-scoring game of the

season.