Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - The Barclays Center will host a Game 7 in its inaugural season after the Brooklyn Nets escaped Chicago with a 95-92 win over the short-handed Bulls on Thursday to force a deciding game in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
Deron Williams scored 17 points, handed out 11 assists and won a jump ball against Joakim Noah in the closing seconds of Game 6 to seal the victory.
Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson also netted 17 points apiece while Gerald Wallace had 15 for the Nets, who forced the series back to Brooklyn for Saturday's Game 7 despite shooting 28 percent from the field in the second half.
"It comes down to one game, and I feel like we have a pretty good chance with it being on our home floor," Johnson said. "We'll be ready."
The Bulls were playing without starting point guard Kirk Hinrich for the second straight game because of a calf injury, while their leading scorer during the regular season, Luol Deng, was sidelined due to flu-like symptoms.
Nate Robinson and Taj Gibson were also slowed with the flu, but played through as the Bulls squandered a second chance at advancing to the conference semis.
Robinson put in 18 points, Noah and Carlos Boozer each recorded double-doubles and Marco Belinelli led Chicago with 22 points over 46-plus minutes. Belinelli, though, missed a potential tying 3-pointer on Chicago's final possession.
"We wanted to close it out...but we're playing against a very talented group," Noah said. "It's disappointing."
The Nets ran away with Game 5 in their own building but had to claw one out at United Center even though Chicago was clearly winded down the stretch. The Bulls' last lead came with 2:31 remaining in the first quarter, and they trailed by as many as eight in the fourth.
A Robinson jumper capped an 8-2 run that cut the deficit to 85-83 with 4:36 to play, and it stayed a close game the rest of the way.
With Chicago trailing 92-90, Robinson missed a wild runner and Boozer was whistled for his sixth foul going after the rebound with 32 seconds left. After Andray Blatche split a pair from the stripe, seldom-used Nazr Mohammed laid in a quick two off a nice feed from Noah, and Blatche drained two big free throws for a three-point Nets lead with 19.2 ticks on the clock.
Belinelli grazed the rim with a 3-point attempt from the left wing, and Noah chased down the loose ball before stepping out of bounds with 6.3 seconds left. Noah tied up Williams along the sideline on the ensuing inbounds, resulting in a jump ball. The toss was knocked towards Johnson, who tipped the ball to himself and was able to dribble out the clock.
"We kept fighting...but sometimes the ball doesn't go your way," Gibson said.
A back-and-forth first quarter ended with Lopez putting in his ninth and 10th points from the foul line for a 33-27 Nets lead.
The Bulls had a chance to pull even or go ahead late in the second, only to have Robinson turn the ball over. It was Chicago's sixth giveaway in the quarter, and Williams answered with eight points, highlighted by a four-point play, on a 10-2 run that extended Brooklyn's lead to 60-50.
Belinelli scored the last points of the half to pull Chicago within 60-54, but the Bulls never got over the hump in the third quarter despite the Nets missing 12 straight shots over a seven-minute span.
Both teams shot over 53 percent from the field in the first half, but the third quarter saw a combined 24 percent shooting as the Nets limped to the fourth holding a 75-71 advantage.
The Nets are 7-0 all-time in playoff series when holding homecourt advantage ... When holding a 3-2 lead, the Bulls are 13-1 all-time -- the one series loss coming in the 1974-75 Western Conference finals against Golden State ... Noah and Boozer each scored 14 points to go with 15 and 13 rebounds, respectively ... Reggie Evans led Brooklyn with 15 boards ... Chicago committed 16 turnovers to the Nets' 10.