NEW YORK – Deron Williams finally delivered the game that's expected of him, and he wasn't going to let the Nets lose it.
And after he finished carrying them into a 2-2 tie with the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed, the guy who had been being beaten up physically on the court and by fans and media off it knew how important his performance was.
"We really needed to get this one to stay in the series," he said, "and so it was definitely one of my better games this year for sure and probably as a Net."
Williams rebounded from two dismal games by tying a playoff career high with 35 points, and Brooklyn pulled out a 120-115 overtime victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Monday night in Game 4.
The Nets, just 38-44 in the regular season, moved two victories from becoming the sixth No. 8 seed to beat a No. 1 — only the fourth since the first round became best-of-seven.
"This is what the playoffs are all about. What we expect is to be challenged, and this is a great challenge for us," Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said.
Bojan Bogdanovic made the go-ahead three-pointer with 1:25 left in overtime, but the Nets never would have gotten there without Williams, whose 16 points in the fourth quarter were two fewer than he had total in the first three games of the series.
"What a basketball game that was," Nets coach Lionel Hollins said. "To me, that's what playing this sport is all about."
Milwaukee 94, Chicago 88: Michael Carter-Williams had 22 points and eight assists, Khris Middleton scored 21 points, and Milwaukee avoided elimination again in Game 5 of its first-round playoff series. It was the Bulls' first home loss since mid-March.
With a 3-2 lead, the Bulls will try to close it out again Thursday at Milwaukee. No team has ever rallied from a 3-0 deficit to win an NBA postseason series.
The Bucks regrouped after a nine-point lead dwindled to three, and they hung on again after a seven-point lead shrunk to four with just over a minute remaining.
Pau Gasol had 25 points and 10 rebounds for Chicago, but Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler struggled.