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Bulls Season Apparently Comes Down To Kirk Hinrich

"For all of the magic Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau has been able to coax out of his battered roster, this was one body blow too many," Chris Mannix writes for SI.com.

"With Joakim Noah hobbling around on one foot, Taj Gibson operating on one good knee, Kirk Hinrich battling through a severe calf strain, and Derrick Rose still sitting in a suit, Chicago had built a 3-1 series lead through punishing defense and efficient offense, through the sheer will and determination of a team wired to refuse to quit.

"The loss of Hinrich though, the team's level-headed floor general, it's pesky perimeter defender who was ruled out Monday morning after his left calf worsened in the hours after grinding out 60 grueling minutes in the Bulls triple overtime win over the Nets on Saturday, proved to be too much.

"A physically taxed team had become too overextended. And with the clock winding down in Brooklyn's 110-91 Game 5 win, there was Nate Robinson (44 minutes) and Jimmy Butler (32) hunched over at halfcourt, hands on their knees, too tired to stand up, a visual that spoke volumes."

You can watch the official highlights here.

The series returns to Chicago on Thursday. If a Game 7 is necessary, it would be back in Brooklyn on Saturday.

See also:

* Daily News: Brooklyn Nets Steal Chicago Bulls Game Plan, Now Need To Steal Game 6.

* Times: For Nets, No Overtime And No Surrender.

* Post: Little Nate Can't Come Up Big Again.

* Newsday: With Kirk Hinrich Out, Deron Williams Flourishes.

Captain Kirk
* AP: No Hinrich, Not Enough Rebounding For Bulls.

* ESPNChicago: Bulls Clearly Felt Hinrich's Absence.

Hinrich A Dick, Though
"Two former NBA teammates of Jason Collins, who announced Monday that he's gay , had very different reactions before tip-off of Game 5 at the Barclays Center," Sean Jensen reports for the Sun-Times.

"Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich called it a distraction, while Nets forward Jerry Stackhouse insisted the news is bigger than basketball.

"All three played together with the Hawks during the 2011-12 season.

"Asked about the significance of Collins becoming the first athlete to come out in a major sport, Hinrich said: 'It's really not significant to me. It surprised me, but it's just a big distraction right now. It doesn't really change what kind of person he is or anything. It's just who he is.'

"Hinrich added that Collins 'was a good teammate, good guy. That's about all I have to say about it.'"

Sorry for distracting you with other people's lives, Kirk. You're in a freakin' walking boot! Not even playing! Way to meet the moment.

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Comments welcome.

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