Nets-Bulls Preview

Brooklyn Nets Status Check:
Record: 13-9
Division: 5-1
Conference: 10-4
Road Record: 5-4
Last 10 Games: 5-5
Streak: Won 2
Last game: 107-105 double overtime win over Detroit
PPG: 96.5 (18th)
Opponents PPG: 94.3 (7th)
Offensive Rating: 108.1 (7th)
Defensive Rating: 105.5 (17th)
Pace: 88.1 (30th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .492 (13th)
Turnover Percentage: .133 (6th)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .730 (18th)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .299 (8th)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .214 (13th)
Opp. eFG%: .499 (21st)
Opp. TO%: .136 (15th)
Opp. FT/FGA: .197 (9th)
Leading scorer: Brook Lopez (17.9)

Stats from Basketball-Reference

Nets Injury Report:
Jerry Stackhouse: missed Friday’s game vs. Detroit (sore right knee)
Brook Lopez: played Friday vs. Detroit (foot)

Overview:
After having off since their Wednesday night win in Philadelphia, the Bulls will square off against Brooklyn, who will be playing on their second night of a back-to-back after going to double overtime with Detroit on Friday night.

For once, Joakim Noah and Luol Deng may not be the most tired guys on the court.

Gerald Wallace played 50 minutes, Joe Johnson played 52 and Deron Williams played 43, which is actually a normal night for Deng or Jo. Brook Lopez was limited last night (24 minutes) and probably won’t play tonight because of a foot injury.

In Joe Johnson’s 52nd minute of playing time, he hit a buzzer beating, long two-pointer to top the Pistons 107-105. Johnson led all scorers with 28 points (12-22 from the field) while teammate Gerald Wallace recorded a double-double of 25 points and ten rebounds. Reggie Evans failed to score in 34 minutes before fouling out, but grabbed ten boards and got two steals. Andray Blatche continued his surprisingly competent season as he dropped 16 points, while shooting 7-12.

The Nets turned it over just eleven times in the entire game. The Bulls have had just three games all season in which they turned it over eleven or fewer times. One of those was their most recent game, against the Sixers. Another was December 7th against the same Pistons team, in which they turned it over eight times. The Pistons are 28th in opponent turnover percentage.

Although the Nets held onto the ball well (so did the Pistons, who turned it over 13 times) they let Detroit run all over them. The Pistons racked up 25 fast break points. They averaged 14.1 coming into Friday’s game. Brooklyn also got outrebounded 54-43 overall, including 18-10 on the offensive glass. The Nets overcame this by shooting 45.2 percent from the field and 38.5 percent from deep.

The Bulls will probably also be without a starter as Kirk Hinrich, who is dealing with a bruised knee, could miss the game. Being the type of coach that always informs the media, Tom Thibodeau gave tons of information on Friday on Kirk’s status. “He could (play Saturday),” Thibodeau said. “He’s a lot better today.” Either way the Bulls will surely have “more than enough to win with.”

While the Nets look to build on their last-second win over Detroit, the Bulls can continue their longest winning streak of the season tonight. Chicago topped Philadelphia on Wednesday night behind another big night from Joakim Noah (21 points, seven rebounds, five assists). Deng tallied a double-double (19 points, 12 rebounds) and Marco Belinelli (16) and Nate Robinson (14) both scored in double figures. The only starter not to reach double digits was Carlos Boozer, who finished with just five points on 1-6 shooting.

Philly shot better than the Bulls (45.1 percent to 43.6), outrebounded the Bulls (44-39) and dominated the paint (44-32), but Thibodeau’s squad still found a way to win. That way was the free throw line. They hit 24-26 from the charity stripe, while Philly hit just five of eleven. That’s 19 more points from the line for Chicago. Those 26 free throws are a good sign that the Bulls were attacking the basket, rather than settling for jumpers, which is their usual modus operandi.

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