Thursday night's Game 6 featured two sidelined point guards, another who vomited during timeouts, an All-Star who left the arena before the game even started and plenty of thrilling moments. Ultimately it resulted in a Bulls loss, the second straight in which they had an opportunity to extend their season and get some much-needed rest before the second round of the playoffs, where the defending-champion Heat loom.

A valiant Bulls effort against the Nets symbolized their season-long battle with various maladies and although they raised the spirits of the United Center crowd with a gutsy effort all evening, at the end of the contest the Bulls were unable to catch the Nets in a 95-92 loss, setting up a Game 7 showdown in Brooklyn.

An inspired Bulls team, even more undermanned than usual -- in addition to Kirk Hinrich missing the contest with a calf injury, Luol Deng was sent home prior to the game due a severe illness. Meanwhile top reserve Taj Gibson and Nate Robinson (18 points), Hinrich’s replacement, had flu-like symptoms -- started the contest with tremendous effort, given their difficult situation.

Big men Carlos Boozer (14 points, 13 rebounds) and All-Star Joakim Noah (14 points, 15 rebounds, five assists, five blocked shots) were effective right out of the gate and Marco Belinelli (22 points, seven assists, five rebounds), starting in place of Deng, was also a catalystmas both a scorer and playmaker.

The Nets, however, weren’t prepared to roll over and with Joe Johnson (17 points) knocking down outside shots, it was a back-and-forth, high-scoring affair (the hosts shot 59.1 percent from the floor, while the visitors notched an even gaudier 65 percent field-goal percentage) in the early going, which also saw the return to action of veteran Rip Hamilton.