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Nets force Game 6 with 110-91 win over banged-up Bulls

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Updated: April 29, 2013 10:50PM



NEW YORK — The suntan lotion and South Beach will have to wait.

At least for now.

Hoping to read the Nets their last rites in Game 5 at the Barclays Center Monday night, it was instead the home team that survived, pulling away in the fourth to win 110-91.

“Frustrated,” was the common statement made by a Bulls team that now has to try and finish the best-of-seven series Thursday night at the United Center. Basically, time to get back to being “grimy.”

“We’ll bounce back, it’s at home,” Bulls guard/forward Jimmy Butler said. “You want to end a series at home, and I feel like we know what we did wrong. A lot of it was the rebounding, the loose balls and the hustle. So when we get back to being that grimy team, we’ll be OK.’’

It’s a lot easier being that “grimy’’ team with Kirk Hinrich on the floor. His bruised left calf kept him sidelined, and made life easier — especially in the fourth quarter — for a Brooklyn team that seemed to be fading in the final 12 minutes of games.

“Kirk is a big part of this team, that’s obvious,’’ center Joakim Noah said. “But we have to find a way. We all have to compete a little bit harder. We got our asses kicked on the boards, we’re not happy about that and we’ve got to bounce back.”

Rear ends weren’t just kicked on the boards, but that’s where the game was lost.

Not only did the Nets out-rebound the Bulls 44-33, but 17 offensive rebounds, including six from Brook Lopez, were as Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau put it “unacceptable.”

“That was the difference in the game, the rebounding,’’ Thibodeau said. “Right from the start of the game, I knew [Brooklyn was] reacting to the ball quicker than we were. So I was concerned about that right from the beginning. Now we worked our way back and put ourselves into position, but if you defend fairly well, and then you give a team a second, and then a third crack at it, it’s hard to win like that.’’

The game is made harder when Nets point guard Deron Williams is allowed to have his way in the second half, scoring 12 of his 23 points in the third quarter, and doing most of the damage against Nate Robinson.

But even with the first three quarters going so poorly, a jumper by Luol Deng at the end of third pulled the Bulls to within four.

Considering Brooklyn’s habit of shrinking when the lights are the brightest, it seemed like the perfect place for the Bulls to be. Then all of a sudden, it wasn’t. Thanks to Andray Blatche’s 10 fourth-quarter points, as well as well as Lopez adding another five of his game-high 28. It was the Bulls offense that shrunk and wilted.

“They were more physical than us, the ball went wherever they wanted,’’ Noah added. “It was a disappointing loss, and we’ve got to bounce back. I think we’ll respond very well.’’

Which was a common feeling in the Bulls locker room.

“They were getting all the loose balls, getting the rebounds, they were getting whatever they wanted to get on the floor,’’ Butler said. “I feel like we weren’t pressuring enough. Everybody knows that we can fix this, but we shouldn’t be saying ‘We can fix this,’ because we should have handled it from the very beginning.’’



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