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Final: Chicago Bulls rally past Brooklyn Nets 83-82

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John J. Kim/Tribune Photo / December 15, 2012

The Nets had a four point lead with 1:30 to play, but couldn't hang on as the Bulls went on a 12-2 run to win 83-82 tonight in Chicago.

Joe Johnson gave the Nets a 77-71 lead with just under six minutes remaining, but two buckets by rookie Marquis Teague drew the Bulls to within two. After a pair of Deron Williams free throws, the Bulls again clamped down on defense, forcing misses from Williams and Brook Lopez and swarming Johnson to cause a turnover.

"We had a couple of costly turnovers there in the stretch, and I was the biggest culprit of it - me turning that ball over in the crucial part of the game." said a despondent Johnson.

Still, the Nets had a chance to tie. With 14 seconds left and down by two, Johnson inbounded to Williams who got off a stepback jumper that came up short. Marco Belinelli, who led the Bulls with 19 points, proceeded to drain two free throws to give his squad a four point advantage and put the Nets on ice.

Brook Lopez looked strong and didn't show any ill-effects while playing for the second straight night after missing seven games with an injury to his right foot. He had 18 points and 10 rebounds in just over 25 minutes. Lopez looked active, repeatedly crashing the offensive glass and resuming his improved play on the defensive end.

"At the beginning of the season we had a full roster and we were playing our best basketball.", Lopez said. "So once we get everyone back on the same page I think we'll definitely be alright."

Williams led the Nets with 24, while Johnson chipped in 18. For the Bulls, Belinelli had 19, Luol Deng 17, and Joakim Noah posted a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.

The loss drops the Nets to 13-10 - good for 6th in the East, five games behind the first place Knicks. The Bulls pulled ahead of the Nets at 13-9 and now reside in 4th, 4.5 games behind New York.

Quick Notes:

- This game featured two "neck balls" - a term to describe the ball becoming lodged between the rim and the backboard. These result in a jump ball at center court. This ties the highest total in any game since the NBA started tracking neck balls back in 1972. (*stat awaiting verification)

- Over the past two games, Reggie Evans played 57 minutes and scored 0 points.