By K.C. Johnson, Chicago Tribune reporter
8:03 PM AKST, December 5, 2012
CLEVELAND — With a smile, Nate Robinson revealed part of his strategy for being so hard on himself after Tuesday's loss to the Pacers.
"I have to criticize myself before you guys do," he said.
More seriously, Robinson addressed the "good Nate/bad Nate" dynamic that has appeared in more than one game this season.
Without Robinson's 11 fourth-quarter points, the Bulls don't have a shot at Tuesday's failed comeback. Without his missed 3-pointer early in one shot clock and three fourth-quarter turnovers, they have a better shot.
"I was just stating the obvious and being real with myself," Robinson said. "I play hard but sometimes it just doesn't happen. I have to take care of the ball and that's something I'm going to do better on from here on out.
"I don't think I went for the home run play. There were just a couple of plays where the ball got out of my hand trying to make the right play. That just builds character for me. Every year I think I get better and better. I'm happy with the positions I've been in on different teams. I love the game for what it is."
Coach Tom Thibodeau said Robinson, whom he also coached in Boston, is growing into a new role.
"He has had some really good games for us, some games that are in the middle," Thibodeau said. "I want him to be consistent and run our team well."
Clean it up: Joakim Noah drew his fifth technical foul, which tied him for the league lead. It came in the final quarter.
"We can't afford fourth-quarter technicals," Thibodeau said. "We just can't. It's too hard to make up. So we have to clean that up. I know it's an emotional game and he's an emotional player. But we have to control the emotions, particularly late. There's an appropriate way to make your point to an official. That's something as a team we have to learn."
Closing time: The Bulls have struggled in the fourth quarter of many games, particularly with turnovers. They entered ranked 23rd in turnovers.
"We have some guys playing in the fourth quarter who haven't played in the fourth," Thibodeau said. "It's important to understand everybody has to do their job. The intensity is different."
Play it again: Thibodeau wouldn't comment on whether the organization contacted the league office about the no-call at the end of Tuesday's setback in which there was heavy contact between Luol Deng and Roy Hibbert. He did say he doesn't expect to be fined for calling the play "a train wreck."
"It's an interpretation play," Thibodeau said. "It was a tough play, bang-bang. With verticality, it's straight up. So it's a judgment call. It went against us. We have to move on."
Layups: Richard Hamilton traveled and Thibodeau said "he's getting better, but it's still going to be a week or two" until he returns from the torn plantar fascia in his left foot. … Marco Belinelli, who played in New Orleans, and Cavs coach Byron Scott, who coached there, both chuckled when asked about the potential name change from Hornets to Pelicans. "That doesn't sound like the name of a team," Belinelli said. … A reporter's cellphone rang during Scott's pregame availability. Scott answered it and had a long, jovial chat with the caller. … Kyrie Irving is close to returning from his fractured left index finger.