Brooklyn Nets home for a big game

Mike DiNovo-US PRESSWIRE

The Nets concluded their eight-game road trip with a 5-3 record and for the first time in their NBA history a winning record away from home. Not bad. Now, after blowing out the Cavs, they'll face the Bulls in a crucial game. The Nets need to distance themselves from Chicago to retain home court advantage in the playoffs.

The Nets (43-31) are two and a half games ahead of the Bulls (40-33) with eight to play after Wednesday's action. The Bulls are down four rotation players beyond Derrick Rose: Joakim Noah, Marco Belinellini, Rip Hamilton and now possibly Taj Gibson. But they still have Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich and Jimmy Butler.

For the Nets, expect Joe Johnson (heel) and Gerald Wallace (foot) to return. Now the question is how MarShon Brooks will fit into the rotation after his 27-point, 7-assist game, his best performance of this season and maybe his career. Meanwhile, Stefan Bondy writes that Deron Williams will not need another cortisone shot either now or at the beginning of the playoffs. It would have been his fourth round of cortisone, testing the recommended limits of the treatment.

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