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Brooklyn Nets need win at Chicago to avoid falling further in standings

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Jonathan Daniel

The Nets are now a half-game ahead of the Bulls in the standings and a loss Saturday could drop them into sixth -- and six games back of the Knicks in the loss column. Not a good place to be, particularly with the Celtics rising.

After Friday night's frustrating (there's that word again) loss, the Nets need a bounce back game in the worst way Saturday night in Chicago. The Bulls are not likely to cooperate. Although Taj Gibson is out, Luol Deng is uncertain and there's no timetable for Derrick Rose, they still play defense and they still have Joakim Noah, who had a monster game Thursday vs. the 76ers: 23 points, 21 rebounds and 11 blocks.

Offensively, the Bulls have problems. They are 28th in the league in offense and before beating Philly (not a tough assignment), they had lost three straight and seven of their last 10. Even in that win over the Sixers, the Bulls shot 38.6 percent from the floor, and just 21.3 percent from the 3-point arc.

For the Nets, they have good nights and bad nights, nights with good chemistry and bad, as P.J. Carlesimo tries to put together winning combinations. While Deron Williams has played well, perhaps his best all season, he has had trouble handling the ball, averaging better than four turnovers since the break, with a season high of seven vs. the Mavericks.

Will Reggie Evans start again? It's likely because with Noah underneath, the Nets are going to need a counterpunch. Expect more minutes for Mirza Teletovic in any event. Also, Joe Johnson is likely to shake off some of the rust from his three game layoff.