Bulls fall to Nets 95-92; Game 7 on Saturday

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 3, 2013 at 12:02 am •  Published: May 3, 2013
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CHICAGO (AP) — All season long, the Chicago Bulls have dug in and stood their ground.

Now, their resolve is really about to be tested. They're bruised, battered and one loss away from elimination.

Deron Williams, Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson each scored 17 points, and the Brooklyn Nets again avoided the knockout, beating the short-handed 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're a team of fighters," Joakim Noah said. "We keep getting punched in the face, but we fight back. I'm proud of this team."

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 for Brooklyn.

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 were out there fighting clawing, doing whatever we got to do to get the win," Robinson said.

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