- Mike Mazzeo, ESPN Staff Writer
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WHAT IT MEANS: Brook Lopez would like to have that final minute back.
Lopez committed a turnover which led to the game-winning basket by Nate Robinson with 22.7 seconds left, then got blocked inside on the ensuing possession, and missed a shot from the baseline that would’ve tied the game at the buzzer.
In a matchup that had big playoff implications, the Bulls (41-33) gained a crucial game on the Nets (43-32).
Chicago won the season series over Brooklyn 3-1. The Nets dropped to 16-28 against .500-or-better teams (at time of game played).
Lopez finished with 28 points and 5 rebounds -- but went just 2-for-10 from the field in the final three quarters.
Deron Williams had 20 of his game-high 30 points in the second half. He carried the team down the stretch. Williams added 10 assists in 40 minutes.
Carlos Boozer had 29 points and 18 rebounds for the Bulls.
RETURN OF JOE: Joe Johnson, back in the lineup after missing the past five games due to heel and quad injuries, looked rusty and tentative. He didn’t notch his first bucket until the third quarter, when he swished a baseline fadeaway jumper out of a broken play. Johnson finished with 12 points on 4-for-11 shooting in 34 minutes.
THIRD IS THE BAD WORD: The Nets were outscored 29-20, and saw their 11-point halftime lead shrink to two going into the fourth. Brooklyn shot 31.3 percent from the field in the period. Williams had 11 points in the third. That was the lone bright spot.
MR. FIRST QUARTER: Lopez hit his first six shots in the first quarter and finished with 18 points in the period on 8-for-9 shooting. The Nets led 26-13, holding the Bulls to 26.3 percent shooting.
WHO’S IN THE HOUSE: James Gandolfini and Randy Orton
UP NEXT: Nets vs. Bobcats on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m.