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Nets beat Bulls 95-92, force Game 7

Published May 2, 2013 11:36 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Chicago • Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson each scored 17 points, and the Brooklyn Nets again avoided elimination, beating the short-handed Chicago Bulls 95-92 Thursday to tie their first-round series at 3.

The series goes back to Brooklyn for Game 7 on Saturday, with the winner getting defending champion Miami in the second round.

"We just believed," Johnson said. "We believed in one another. In practice [Wednesday], we went over a lot. More so than anything, it was about who wanted it badder."

The Bulls hung in until the end even though they were missing Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich, but Brooklyn came away with its second straight win to avoid elimination.

A layup by Nazr Mohammed cut the Nets' lead to 93-92 with 25.2 seconds remaining.

Nate Robinson then fouled Andray Blatche, who had missed a free throw only moments earlier. This time, he hit both to make it a three-point game with 19.2 seconds left.

The Bulls had a chance to tie it, but Marco Belinelli missed a 3-pointer and Joakim Noah stepped out of bounds with about six seconds left.

Chicago still had a chance, though.

Noah tied up Williams after the inbounds, resulting in a jump ball with 3.6 seconds left.

Johnson controlled the ball, and the Nets hung on.

Gerald Wallace added 15 points as Brooklyn tied the series.

Only eight NBA teams have come back from a 3-1 deficit to win a best-of-7 series, but the Nets are in position to do just that.

"Most people would have counted us out being down 3-1," Blatche said. "But we kept fighting. We showed that we have a lot of heart. Now that it's tied up, we have to go out with the same hunger, the same attitude, finish this off."

And the Bulls?

"We're a team of fighters," Noah said. "We keep getting punched in the face, but we fight back. I'm proud of this team."

The Bulls stood their ground even though Hinrich missed his second straight game with a bruised left calf and Deng was sidelined with flu-like symptoms, forcing coach Tom Thibodeau to shuffle the lineup.

Belinelli started at shooting guard with Jimmy Butler moving to small forward and scored 22 points. Robinson started his second straight game with Hinrich injured and finished with 18 points. Butler had 17 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

Noah added 14 points and 15 rebounds. Carlos Boozer scored 14 and grabbed 13 boards.

The Nets were leading 81-73 early in the fourth after 3-pointers by Wallace and C.J. Watson.

Robinson wowed the crowd when he faked picking up his dribble for a jumper and drove past a leaping Kris Humphries for a layup that made it 83-79 with about 7:30 remaining. —

Storylines Nets 95, Bulls 92

R Former Jazz guard Deron Williams scores 17 points and dishes out 11 assists for Brooklyn.