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, last night to tie their first-round series at three.

The series goes back to Brooklyn for Game 7 tomorrow, 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 three-pointer and Joakim Noah stepped out of bounds with about 6 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-seven 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.

Noteworthy * 

The NBA fined Golden State coach Mark Jackson $25,000 for making public comments in an attempt to influence the officiating in the Warriors' playoff series with Denver.

After Golden State's 107-100 loss in Game 5 at Denver on Tuesday night, Jackson said the Nuggets sent "hit men" and took "cheap shots" at point guard Stephen Curry. He repeatedly mentioned Kenneth Faried's foul in the first half, when the forward stuck out his right leg and moved his body while Curry ran through traffic.

"For 2 years now, I've taken pride in not ever criticizing referees - for 2 years. And then reading the statement by the NBA, I'm extremely thankful I am not fined for criticizing referees," Jackson said before Game 6 against the Nuggets.

Told the league fined him for an "attempt to influence the officiating," Jackson responded: "I don't like it, and I disagree." He declined to say whether he would appeal the fine.

"This is an awesome time. I truly don't take it for granted," Jackson said. "I smile, $25,000 lighter, but I'm smiling."

In other Warriors news, All-Star forward David Lee made a surprising return in Game 6 after not dressing the previous four games with what the team had called a season-ending hip injury.

Lee didn't participate in early pregame warm-ups, then sprinted out of the tunnel second behind Stephen Curry about 15 minutes before Game 6, ripping off his jacket and getting a rousing ovation from fans when he was shown on the videoboard.

Lee was hurt in the fourth quarter of Game 1, when he banged into Denver's JaVale McGee on a drive and landed on his side. The Warriors said April 21 he had a season-ending tear of his right hip flexor.

* Houston Rockets star James Harden has strep throat but is still expected to play tonight in Game 6 against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

* Phil Jackson has agreed to help the Detroit Pistons search for a head coach. The Pistons said Jackson will serve as an adviser. The Pistons fired Lawrence Frank after a 29-53 season and 54-94 mark in his two seasons.

* David Kahn is out as president of basketball operations for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Flip Saunders is coming in. Flip Saunders confirmed to ESPN that he has signed a long-term deal to become the Timberwolves' president of basketball operations and will hold a minority ownership stake in the team.