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Boozer, Robinson push Bulls past Nets

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- Carlos Boozer and Nate Robinson had a postgame discussion Thursday night, a back-and-forth about how they led Chicago Bulls to a 92-90 victory over the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center.

Boozer dominated the game with 29 points and 18 rebounds, logging 45 minutes of action. Robinson, however, made the shot of the game with 22.7 seconds left, giving him the last word in the friendly exchange.

The Nets rode huge games from Deron Williams (30 points, 10 assists) and Brook Lopez (28 points) to gain a 90-89 lead with 44.7 seconds left. Robinson, however, stole a Lopez pass with 32 seconds left and then drove the lane for a floater that dropped through for a 91-90 Chicago edge.

"I just took the best shot that I thought I had, Lopez came out, and I had to shoot a floater, and thank God it went in," said Robinson, wearing a Mets hat and shirt after the game.

While Boozer only left the court for a brief time, Robinson was on the bench for a good spell with five fouls until he returned with 3:38 left and the score tied at 80-80.

"I just had to wait for coach to call my number, and I'm always going to be ready," Robinson said. "Shots like that, I live for those. I'm not afraid to take a big shot if I have to. I go out there, bring energy and play as hard as I can. Winning this kind of game gives us confidence to keep striving and be the best that we can be going into the playoffs."

Williams had a chance to pick up his 11th assist when he fed Lopez for a 17-foot shot from the baseline in the final seconds, but the center's shot bounced out.

"It was a good shot," Williams said. "We will take that shot 10 out of 10 times, that's his spot on the floor. He had a good look, and it just went in and out. He'll be fine. Every other player goes through that."

Lopez, who scored 18 points in the opening period, had a rough final minute. Not only did he throw the pass that Robinson stole, but he had a shot blocked with 7.9 seconds left and then missed the final shot with a chance to tie.

"Let's start with the post-up, I felt like I was in the key for a little, so I was looking through my options of where to kick it out to," Lopez said of the errant pass that Robinson picked off. "I was trying to find D-Will (Williams) or Joe (Johnson). It was a terrible play on my part. The next play, D-Will hit me with a good pass, I didn't finish strong, though, and the same thing happened on the third play. I had a good look, and it didn't go down."

Boozer led five Chicago players in double figures. Luol Deng (18 points), Jimmy Butler (16), Robinson (12) and Kirk Hinrich (10) contributed to the balanced effort by the Bulls (41-33), who took three of four games against the Nets this season.

"In the first half, we were the more aggressive team," Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "We were the more physical team, and I thought we defended really well. In the second half, they set the tone. We obviously never got a handle on Carlos."

The Bulls cut a 47-36 halftime deficit to 67-65 in the third quarter behind Boozer, who had 10 points and seven rebounds in the quarter as Chicago outscored the Nets 29-20. Entering the fourth quarter, Williams (21) and Lopez (27) had combined to score 48 of Brooklyn's 67 points.

In the first quarter, Lopez drained eight of nine shots from the floor and had 18 points as the Nets (43-32) moved to a 26-13 lead.

Lopez cooled off in the second quarter and was held scoreless until Williams fed him for a baseline dunk with 4.7 left in the half, staking the Nets to a 47-36 halftime advantage.

NOTES: Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said Derrick Rose has been doing everything in practice but backed away from predicting when the guard might play his first minutes of the season. "He's close, but he's not going to come back till he's ready," Thibodeau said. "Right now, we're not doing a lot of scrimmaging because of where we are. When we did scrimmage, he looked very good. He's gotten more comfortable, he's moving along. He's very strong-willed, and he's not going to be swayed by anybody. Only he knows (when he'll be ready). I trust him implicitly. When he's ready, he'll go." ... Johnson returned after a five-game absence caused by a sore heel, and he scored 12 points, including a 3-pointer with 1:14 left that gave the Nets an 88-86 edge. ... Williams posted his 19th double-double of the season. ... Bulls forward Taj Gibson on Tuesday re-injured the knee that kept him out for a 10-game stretch, starting in February and carrying into March. Gibson joins a long list of injured Bulls, which includes Rose (knee), Joakim Noah (foot), Richard Hamilton (back) and Marco Belinelli (abdominal strain). ... Lopez and Williams each averaged 21 points on the Net's just-concluded 5-3 road trip. ... The 21 road victories are the most in Nets history. ... Brooklyn's 113-05 victory at Cleveland on Wednesday featured a season-best 31 assists for the Nets and a season-high 66 points in the first half. ... The Charlotte Bobcats visit the Nets on Saturday. ... The Bulls play at home against the Orlando Magic on Friday.

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