Chicago Bulls next winning team to arrive in Brooklyn

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Brooklyn is healthy, Chicago is not, but they've figured it out.

The Nets are sitting just behind the Bulls in the Eastern Conference, but since the Bulls have a winning record, the Nets chances of moving up are not great. They are an amazing 17-0 against teams with records below .500 but only 10-19 vs. those with winning records. it's an oddity that continues to mystify,

Beyond being 10 games over .500, the Bulls are riding a two-game winning streak and are a conference best over the last 10 at 8-2. Moreover, even with Derrick Rose, not due back till the end of February, they are playing extremely well. Their recent charge has been led by two reserves, Jimmy Butler, the last pick in the first round of the 2011 draft, and Nate Robinson, who needs no introduction.

First filling in for Luol Deng, then coming off the bench for him, Butler has averaging 15.4 points and 7.9 rebounds with only five turnovers in seven games over the last two weeks. Robinson has scored in double figures in a season-high eight straight games and has averaged 20.0 points over the last four, shooting 56.9 percent from the field.

Then there's Taj Gibson, who was born in Brooklyn. He filled in for Carlos Boozer, Deron Williams old pick-and-roll partner, Wednesday and finished with 14 points and nine rebounds, only slightly lower than Boozer's numbers. It's uncertain if Boozer (hamstring) will play vs. the Nets.

Their coach is Tom Thibodeau. They also play defense. Those two points are connected.

As for the Nets they are in what could kindly be called a funk. Over the past five games, they've been blown out in three, played poorly but won in another and destroyed a really bad team without its best player. What's particularly troubling is that other that Tornike Shengelia's mild concussion, they haven't had to endure any major injuries.

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