Andray Blatche comes through off bench for Nets

Andray Blatche nodded his head, then pumped his left fist as he strolled toward the locker room and heard applause from Nets management.

The eighth-year pro never experienced a moment like this, not after spending his first seven seasons with the lowly Wizards. He had been to the playoffs before but never factored in an outcome as much as he did Thursday night.

As raucous Bulls fans tried every method possible to distract him, Blatche calmly stepped to the free-throw line with 19.2 seconds left in regulation. A 68.5 percent free-throw shooter during the regular season, Blatche looked flawless as he made both shots.

“Those were the biggest free throws I’ve ever shot in my career,” Blatche said. “It was beyond loud. Even C.J. (Watson) said his ears started ringing.

“Those free throws meant a lot to us. I just focused and stuck to my routine. I didn’t let it bother me. I just shot the ball like I would any other time.”

– Reported by Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune