The teams keep changing but the Bulls seem to have the Nets number in the Brooklyn era. They took three of four meetings in last year’s regular season and obviously won last year’s memorable seven game battle in the first round of the playoffs. They’ve thumped the Nets by at least 15 in both games this season and can sweep the season series with a win tonight.
At this point, it’s fair to call Brooklyn the definition of average, or The Good Bad Team, if you prefer. Dating back to their win in London over the Hawks, here are their results:
Wins: New York, Orlando, Dallas, Boston, Philly, San Antonio (minus Duncan, Parker, Leonard and Ginobili), New Orleans, Charlotte, Utah, Lakers, Denver, Milwaukee.
Losses: Toronto, OKC, Indiana, Detroit, Chicago, Golden State, Portland.
Aside from the one point win over Dallas and the loss in Detroit, and depending how you classify Charlotte, they beat the bad teams and fell to the good teams. In fact, they just finished a six game road trip that saw them get thumped by 44 in Portland, and then take it out on the floundering Nuggets the next night. Tonight’s game is their first time being at home since the All-Star break.
The Joakim Noah-Kevin Garnett feud may not get a chance to add another chapter to the book tonight. Even if Noah plays after spraining his ankle yesterday, Garnett is a game-time decision with back spasms. UPDATE (2:50 PM): GARNETT IS OUT TONIGHT
Brooklyn’s best chance might be hoping for a weary Bulls team. They’re on the road and playing a back-to-back after yesterday’s win over the Knicks, but they were up by enough that Tom Thibodeau felt comfortable to go to his TokoTime lineup and give Jimmer Fredette his first minutes as a Bull. Chicago matches up well with the Nets because of how well Jimmy Butler plays Joe Johnson. Brooklyn will need scoring from Deron Williams, Paul Pierce and deadline acquisition Marcus Thornton. Based on their previous meetings this season, neither of which saw the Nets crack 80 points, that doesn’t seem likely.