If the Chicago Bulls were looking for a good tune up before the start of the NBA Playoffs this weekend, they got it and a whole lot more from the New Jersey Nets. The No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference needed until the very last seconds to hold off the visiting Nets 97-92 Wednesday night in Chicago.
Knowing there was nothing to hold back, the Nets came back from an early 13-point deficit to take a 10 point lead in the third quarter behind the strong play of point guard Jordan Farmar. After trading the lead back and forth in the final quarter, New Jersey took their final lead of the game with 1:01 left on a jumper by Brook Lopez. In the final minute, Farmar missed a shot from behind the arc that would have tied the game while the Bulls closed it out at the free throw line.
Farmar paced the Nets with a double-double -- 21 points, 12 assists -- while Brook Lopez got off to a slow start but managed to put up 17 points. Johan Petro contributed 13 points and eight rebounds off the bench.
Kyle Korver led the way for the Bulls with 19 points off the bench, including just six from his second home beyond the arc. Derrick Rose finished with 15 points but just one assist in 30 minutes.
It probably wasn't where New Jersey thought they would finish after acquiring Deron Williams from the Utah Jazz, but Avery Johnson's Nets have to take some pride in doubling the win total from last year's lost season.