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This time, Bulls benefit from C.J. Watson’s blunder

Updated: May 30, 2013 3:03PM



Brooklyn Nets guard C.J. Watson is no stranger to playoff meltdowns. Bulls fans are no strangers to watching him go down in flames.

In Game 6 of the Bulls’ first-round playoff series last season against the Philadelphia 76ers,
Watson showed some bad decision-making. With the Bulls clinging to a one-point lead and time running out, Watson decided to pass the ball to center Omer Asik, a 45.6 percent free-throw shooter. Asik was fouled and missed both free throws before the 76ers’ Andre Iguodala made a game-winning shot to eliminate
the Bulls.

Almost a year later, Watson was at it again Saturday. With a chance to put the Nets ahead by 16 points with just more than three minutes left in Game 4 at the United Center, Watson missed an uncontested dunk. The Bulls clawed their way back into the game, sent it to overtime and eventually beat the Nets 142-134 in three overtimes to take a 3-1 lead in the series.

But rather than getting death threats from Bulls fans on Twitter, like he did last season, he only was getting cheers.

‘‘I was going to dunk it,’’ Watson said afterward. ‘‘I was just a little tired, but I still shouldn’t have missed it.’’

No, he shouldn’t have. And the Bulls made sure he paid dearly for it.

‘‘That was huge,’’ guard Nate Robinson said of Watson’s missed opportunity.

Power forward Taj Gibson, who is friends with Watson, agreed. And while he felt bad for his former teammate, business is business.

‘‘Yeah, it was big because plays like that you can’t take for granted,’’ Gibson said. ‘‘We needed every
single play that we could get, and when he missed that dunk, we just went off to the races. [Carlos Boozer] made big-time layups, and we just kept flourishing through it. We had a feeling that we had a shot to win this game.’’

Watson hasn’t exactly endeared himself to Bulls fans since leaving the team. He claimed he was ‘‘mistreated’’ after his gaffe against the 76ers and put himself in the cross hairs by insisting Nets guard Deron Williams was a better player than Derrick Rose.

After a second-quarter scuffle with Robinson on Saturday, Watson was booed each time he touched the ball. If there is a Game 6 on Thursday in Chicago, expect the treatment to get even worse.



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