Shorthanded Bulls ran out of gas

NEW YORK -- After playing every second of Friday night's 93-89 loss to the Brooklyn Nets, a tired looking Taj Gibson was asked why the Chicago Bulls came up short.

That's when Nate Robinson piped in with his own answer from a nearby locker.

"Nate Robinson couldn't make no shots," the feisty veteran guard said.

Robinson, who was just 4-for-16 from the field, can try to take the blame for the loss, but it's not all his fault. Playing without Joakim Noah (plantar fasciitis), Carlos Boozer (right hamstring) and Kirk Hinrich (right elbow), the Bulls just didn't have enough at the end to finish off a game they could have won. Gibson and Deng, who played all but 3.6 seconds of the game, were exhausted and the Bulls had a hard time making plays down the stretch. Don't try bringing excuses to Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, though.

"You can point to a lot of things," Thibodeau said. "We were in position to win. So if you choose to use that as an excuse, you can. You say, ‘A guy's out, a guy's tired.’ Whatever. It's the NBA -- you got to find a way to get it done. Whatever the circumstances are, you've just got to find a way to get it done."

The Bulls didn't on Friday night and Gibson has a theory as to why.

"I felt like we had a great shot to win, a couple plays just didn't go our way," he said. "We didn't really do too well on defense late, including myself. And then late in the fourth quarter, like I've seen in the last couple years on this team (and) in the playoffs, we got to get stops in the fourth, the most important quarter is the fourth quarter. And right before we went out there we told ourselves, ‘We have to win this quarter,’ and we didn't get that done."

The Bulls also had a hard time making shots with three of their starters nursing injuries. The offense looked understandably disjointed at times and Robinson is hopeful that changes soon given the likelihood that Noah, Boozer and Hinrich will probably all miss Saturday night's game in Atlanta as well.

"I really feel if I make a couple easy shots that I usually make, we win," Robinson said. "We played our hearts out, we kept fighting throughout the whole game. They're a good team; on top of that we know we're better than that. We got to bounce back and get ready for (Saturday)."

That's one thing that most players took solace in late Friday night -- they played as hard as they could and they never gave up.

"It's just one of those things, you've just got to go out and play," Deng said. "We didn't really have time to make excuses or feel sorry for ourselves. It's a long year, things like that are going to happen, but I thought we played hard. I thought we played as hard as we could. We just made mistakes that cost us the game. They had depth -- but I thought we gave ourselves a chance and that's what matters."