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Nets Come Up Empty in Chicago

The prospect of a first-round matchup with the Bulls (who had tied the Cavs for the second seed on Thursday) was a promising one for the Nets. Coming into Friday's game at the United Center, the Nets were 16-4 against Chicago in the Jason Kidd era, including two quality wins this season. But playing without Ben Wallace and Andres Nocioni, the Bulls completely outworked and outplayed the Nets Friday night, taking away whatever momentum New Jersey had from the last five games. The Bulls opened the game on a 16-5 run and never looked back, holding the Nets to just 34 percent shooting for the game. Both teams played a small linuep for most of the night and the Nets' Big Three were thoroughly outproduced by Kirk Hinrich, Ben Gordon and Luol Deng, who combined for 71 points and 24 rebounds while shooting 52 percent.