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"Must win" or "big game?" Doesn't matter. Nets know they need to "bounce back"

More of a "statement game," rather than "must win"

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

The good news is that the Nets understand that they need to "bounce back" from their blowout by the Heat (which followed blowout losses last weekend to the Rockets and before that the Grizzlies).

Bad news is that they're not sure what went wrong vs. Miami.

"I don’t know why we’re losing so badly in these losses," Deron Williams said before the Bulls game. "It just seemed like last game in the third quarter nothing went right for us. Everything went right for them and they kind of blew us out of the game."

P.J. Carlesimo thinks he has an idea. It's not the other teams. It's the Nets. "We’ve beaten some good teams," Carlesimo said. "The problem isn’t beating good teams. The problem is us."

No matter. The Nets could get a break Friday night. Kirk Hinrich is back in Chicago getting an infection looked at and Carlos Boozer is out with a sore hamstring. Joakim Noah is questionable.

So, whether this is a "must win" (hardly when you're eight games over .500 in February) or "a big game" (who wants to admit that a game is a "small game"), it's important to prove the Nets can beat good teams, despite its 10-19 record against winning teams. Maybe the most accurate description of the Nets vs. Bulls is "statement game."

Meanwhile, Chris Broussard tried to figure why the Nets are (were?) playing better than they did under Avery Johnson. He spoke with an unnamed Nets player, who said the answer was simple.

"Him,'' he told Broussard, pointing to D-Will's locker. "He's playing better, so we've played better. It's as simple as that. People can say all the stuff they want to about why we're winning now and why we're playing better, but that's really all it is. He's scoring more, and he's shooting at a better clip, so we're a better team.''

And Devin Kharpertian recommends that Gerald Wallace get more time at the other forward position, where Stefan Bondy quotes Carlesimo saying there's a "logjam" of flawed players.