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With Lin out, Nets take a trip to the Windy City

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NBA: Chicago Bulls at Charlotte Hornets Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

First things first: Jeremy Lin is OUT with a hamstring injury. No word yet on its severity or a return date. He did not travel with the team.

Here’s the official announcement...

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Everyone loves a buzzer beater. The Nets entered Monday’s game against the Hornets riding a five game losing streak. It looked as if they were on their way to a sixth straight defeat, but they fought back and finished the comeback off with a Randy Foye three pointer at the buzzer. After this one, the Nets head to DC to finish up 2016.

Waiting for the Nets tonight will be the Chicago Bulls. They had been stumbling around recently, but snapped their three game losing streak with a win over the Indiana Pacers on Monday night. After this, they have a back-to-back to wrap up 2016. They go to Indiana to play the Pacers on the 30th and host the Bucks on New Year’s Eve.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. Tip off after 8.

Injuries

Jeremy Lin had to leave Monday’s game early due to a hamstring injury. It’s the same hamstring injury that caused him to miss over a month of games. He’s out. Joe Harris is questionabl.

Doug McDermott missed Monday’s game with a shin injury. He’s listed as questionable for tonight’s game.

The game

Chicago won the first meeting on Halloween.

The jig’s up in Chicago? After a nice start to the year, Chicago has fallen back to Earth and find themselves at the bottom of the playoff standings in the East. Over at the brand new 16 Wins a Ring (check em out btw. They’re doing good work over there), Austin Hutchinson made this observation:

The Bulls were and remain a mirage. Their early success was simply just not sustainable. Whether by Dwyane Wade’s old legs or just the balancing of the scales, the dog days of December really have gotten to the Bulls.

They have shot even worse from 3 (27.3%), thus causing them even to take 7 less threes a game compared to October, and even their rebounding numbers are dropping off. Not to mention they’re 4–9.

One person that hasn’t helped Chicago much is Rajon Rondo. Although he's still a great rebounding guard, he still can't shoot and turns the ball over too much for someone who has the ball in his hands as much as he does. Michael Carter Williams is back, but he doesn't solve the Bulls' shooting woes.

With Lin out, Isaiah Whitehead will take his place in the starting lineup. Whitehead has shown flashes of potential, but he's a rookie and naturally there have been more bad moments than good ones. Randy Foye will back him up And the Nets are hoping the duo can do enough to make up for the (likely) absence of Lin.

We've got ourselves a brotherly battle on the inside. Brook Lopez had his best fourth quarter in a while as he scored ten fourth quarter points on Monday. When Lopez puts complete efforts together, it makes the Nets offense more potent and gives them their best chance to win. Twin brother Robin will look to control the glass and bully Brook on defense.

Player to watch: Jimmy Butler

Butler is the team’s best player and the person that is most integral to their plans going forward. One of the strongest aspects of JB's game is his ability to draw fouls. It puts a ton of pressure on opposing defenses and as someone who shoots close to 90 percent on his foul shots, he's a lifesaver for an offense that tends to stagnate. Another great thing about Butler is his low turnover rate. Having a lead scoring option that can score from a variety of places on the court and rarely coughs it up is immensely valuable.

Bojan Bogdanovic came off the bench for the first time this season on Monday and had his best game in a while. Bojan scored a game high 26 points and made four three pointers. The Nets bench has been a consistent weak spot this season, and having Bojan carry the scoring load for that unit could help them out.

From the Vault

Here’s a fun fact I learned via Julia Beverly’s fantastic biography on Pimp C: UGK originally began recording “Ridin’ Dirty” in Chicago, but the songs they made were horrible and they went back home to Texas to do things the right way.

With Pimp C’s birthday being tomorrow, revisit the best song in the UGK catalog and one that also works to sum up 2016.

More reading: Blog a Bull