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Nets visit Chicago to play the Bulls

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Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

In a lost season, there are certain things that just can't happen. One of those things is losing the season series to the Philadelphia 76ers. Luckily for the Nets, they prevented that from happening and beat up on Philly Tuesday night. The victory snapped the team's four game losing streak. It's the little things that keep you going.

Waiting for the Nets will be the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls were expected to be near the top of the Conference this season, but find themselves on the outside looking in of the playoff picture. This is the second night of a back-to-back for the Bulls. They lost by 21 points to the Wizards in DC last night. When you're trying to sneak into the playoffs, you can't afford losses like that.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV, WCBS 880 AM on radio. Tip off is after 8 PM.

Injuries

Willie Reed missed the last game due to a sore knee. His status is currently unknown. No word yet on Rondae Hollis-Jefferson's return.

Pau Gasol is dealing with swelling in his knee and he probably won't play. Taj Gibson re-injured his hamstring yesterday and had to leave the game. No word on his availability. Joakim Noah is out for the year with a shoulder injury.

The game

Here goes

2015-2016

Brooklyn

Chicago

Record

19-48 33-33

Pace

97.01 99.03

Offensive Efficiency

100.8 101

Defensive Efficiency

107.1 102.9

Turnover Rate

15.4 14.2

Assist Rate

17 16.8

Offensive Rebounding Rate

23.7 24.4

Rebound Rate

49.4 50.4

Free Throw Rate

24.1 24.2

Effective Field Goal Percentage

49.3 48.2

Opponent's Effective Field Goal Percentage

52.7 47.9

The Bulls won the first meeting on Opening Night while the Nets won the second one in late December.

The Bulls have been a mess under new coach Fred Hoiberg. Their offense was expected to reach new heights as Hoiberg would take full advantage of the roster's skill sets. However, that hasn't been the case and the offense's effectiveness is essentially the same as last year's. Some of that is due to the crush of injuries, but not all of it.

Speaking of injuries, that's been something that's carried over to the new coaching administration. Tom Thibodeau received a bunch of criticism for pushing players too hard and having them play (or at least try to play) through injuries when rest might've been the best course of action. When we look at the cases of Gibson and Gasol, they continued to play through injuries and made things worse. It's all bad in Chicago, and as Ricky O'Donnell of Blog-a-Bull explains:

The roster was flawed last season, and the front office was delusional enough to think a new coach would fix everything. It's even more ridiculous when you consider that roster was built under the guise of Thibodeau's hard-nosed, defense-first identity. Thinking those same pieces would be able to thrive in Hoiberg's radically different system was incredibly delusional.

Somehow, this is gonna end up being Thibs' fault.

With the frontcourt situation in shambles for Chicago, Brook Lopez should be feeling good about his chances for having a good game. Lopez only shot 7-17 on Tuesday, but he did manage to make his second three pointer of the season. Brook has mentioned on occasion that he'd like to develop a three point shot, and if he ever manages to do it, it'll make him an even more dynamic scorer. He doesn't have to turn into Sam Perkins, but the occasional three will help expand the Nets attack. With Gibson and Gasol likely out, Bobby Portis will see a lot of playing time tonight. He's had an uneven rookie year, but he's shown flashes of potential that have fans and observers excited for what he can do next. His season high in minutes is 30, and he's probably gonna have to surpass it tonight.

Derrick Rose was a bit behind to start the year after having surgery to fix the orbital bone in his face after he caught an inadvertent elbow to the face. He played a good portion of the year with a mask (and double vision), but everything appears to be clearing up for the former MVP. He's averaging around 21 points and five assists on 51 percent shooting from the field and 45 percent from downtown in 30 minutes a game in nine second half games. Rose is most effective when he's getting to the basket, and the majority of his shots this half have come near the basket. He's just returning from injury, so Shane Larkin and Donald Sloan ought to keep him involved on defense.

Player to watch: Doug McDermott

If there's one positive to take away from this year, it's the emergence of McDermott. He's had some breakout games recently and has put together a nice season on the whole. He's shooting 42 percent from deep and has cut down on his turnovers as compared to last year. With all of the injuries on the roster, getting a chance to see what he can do can have positive long term benefits.

McDermott will be matched up with Bojan Bogdanovic. Bojan is coming off of the best game of his NBA career as he scored 44 points on 17-27 from the field and 4-9 from three point range. It's the highest scoring mark for a Nets player since the move to Brooklyn and the most scored by one player since Deron Williams scored 57 points against the Charlotte Bobcats in 2012. Bogdanovic got hot in the second half of last season, and he's replicated his zircons half success this year. McDermott is a complete non-factor on defense, so look for Bogdanovic to get a lot of good looks.

From the Vault

Bogdanovic scored 44 points on Tuesday, tying the mark set by his basketball hero, the late Drazen Petrovic. Naturally, we're taking a trip back to 1993 and Drazen's record breaking game.

More reading: Blog a Bull