The Brooklyn Nets beat the shorthanded Chicago Bulls 95-92 Thursday night to force a Game 7 at the Barclays Center. The Bulls were without Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich for Game 6, but they made things interesting before the Nets held on for the win.
Deng was a late scratch due to flu-like symptoms, and Hinrich missed his second straight game because of a bruised left calf. Deron Williams and the Nets took advantage of the Bulls injury woes and maintained a reasonable lead throughout the game.
The Bulls didn’t come alive until the second half and made a late push in the fourth quarter. The Nets took a four-point lead into the fourth, and they immediately extended it to eight after three-pointers by Gerald Wallace and C.J. Watson.
The Bulls answered with six straight points to cut the Nets lead to four at 83-79 with just over seven minutes remaining in the contest. After exchanging buckets over the next couple possessions, the Bulls pulled within two as Joakim Noah scored a tip-in with four minutes left to make it 87-85 Nets.
With 2:19 remaining, Marco Bellinelli brought the crowd to it’s feet with a clutch three-pointer to keep the Nets lead at two. Brooklyn’s Andray Blatche hit a bank shot on the following possession but Nate Robinson matched him with just over a minute left.
With 32 seconds to play, Robinson missed a layup and Carlos Boozer was called for a loose ball foul during a scuffle in the paint. Blatche went to the line and hit one-of-two free throws to make it 93-90.
Bulls’ center Nazr Mohammad cut the lead to one after an easy layup with 25.2 seconds left. Robinson quickly fouled Blatche on the next inbound’s play and the Nets’ backup forward sunk both free throws.
Bellinelli had a chance to tie it but he missed a three-pointer, and Noah stepped out of bounds after an offensive board with six seconds left. The Bulls tied-up the Nets for a jump ball on the following play, but it wasn’t enough as Brooklyn controlled the tip to end the game.
Game 7 will be played Saturday night back in New York City at the Barclays Center, and the Bulls hope to have Deng and Hinrich back in rotation. The Nets will look to become the ninth NBA team to comeback from a 3-1 deficit to win a playoff series.
Here’s full highlights of Game 6 at the United Center as the injury-ridden Chicago Bulls fell short of the Brooklyn Nets.
[Image via Lolita Lens]