All good things must come to an end and for the Brooklyn Nets, that meant the end of their modest winning streak. They went to Orlando on Thursday night hoping to push their winning streak to four, but fell short by eight points. The Nets have been playing well as of late, so tonight will be a good chance to start something new before the season ends.
The opponent will be the Chicago Bulls. Amazingly, the Bulls still have a chance of getting up to the five seed despite their disappointing season. They beat the 76ers on Thursday and are currently in the seventh seed with three games to go.
Where to follow the game
YES Network on TV (check the alternates) and WCBS 880 AM on radio. Tip off after 5 PM.
No Joe Harris. Sean Kilpatrick has been dealing with a hamstring injury and his status is up in the air.
Rajon Rondo is out with a wrist injury. Dwyane Wade is expected to make his return after being sidelined with an elbow injury.
In off the court news, thanks to the Phoenix Suns' victory last night, the Celtics have clinched the number one spot in the upcoming Draft lottery. I would recommend Nets fans avoid watching the lottery that evening.
35 points away. Brook Lopez needs 35 points to pass Buck Williams to become the team’s all time leading scorer. His season high in points is 36 so it’s not impossible for him to achieve it in the final home game of the season. Twin brother Robin will look to prevent it from happening. RoLo has done a nice job manning the middle for the Bulls and leads the team in rebounds per game. Also, Robin is good to throw hands if things get a little chippy out there.
Lopez is also 19 three pointers short of passing Dirk Nowitzki for the most three-pointers ever by a seven-footer. That now seems out of reach. Still, Lopez will finish the season with only Nowitzki ahead of him in the annals of deep shooting by big men.
In a just world, Jimmy Butler would be included in the MVP discussions for this season. He's been having the best season of his career as he's set career highs in points per game, rebounds per game, assists per game, and free throw rate. Jimmy has had to carry things with Wade out, and he's been more than up to the task. Butler's assists have gone up in the second half, and there's a very good reason why. Let your friendly bulls blogger explain:
Caris Levert will be matched up with the superstar forward. With three games to go, it would be great if he finished up strong. He scored a season/career high 20 points on Thursday and made four three pointers. Having a full summer to train will do wonders for him and he'll be someone to keep an eye on next year.
Player to watch: Dwyane Wade
It's been a frustrating, disappointing season for the future Hall of Famer as he's struggled to adjust to his new team. Naturally his per game numbers would be low thanks to decreased minutes, but he's gotten to the free throw line at the lowest rate of his career. That speaks to the issues Chicago has had with spacing when Wade is on the court. You need good three point shooting out of your perimeter players and because Wade is unable to provide that,it's hard for him to be productive, especially when he's converting shots at the rim at one of the lowest rates of his career. He can erase all of the disappointment with a great return and playoff run, but I'm not sure he'll be able to.
Spencer Dinwiddie figures to get a lot of time guarding Wade. Dinwiddie continues to play well coming off the bench and is someone who could be a key reserve next season.
From the Vault
If the Bulls manage to sneak into the playoffs, they’ll be at the bottom of the Conference. Last time that was the case, this happened:
More reading: Blog a Bull
- Brooklyn Nets Game Notes - Brooklyn Nets
- Chicago Bulls Game Notes - Chicago Bulls
- Preview: Bulls vs. Nets - Yahoo! Sports
- Butler, Bulls could see Wade return vs. Nets - STATS
- The Nets’ Brook Lopez on Starting a Brooklyn Legacy - Filip Bondy - New York Times
- Brook Lopez closing in on Nets’ scoring record - Greg Logan - Newsday
- Nikola Mirotic's six 3-pointers versus 76ers continued turnaround - K.C. Johnson - Chicago Tribune
- Bulls prepared to welcome Dwyane Wade back to their playoff push - K.C. Johnson - Chicago Tribune
- Dwyane Wade is set to return to the starting lineup in ‘Gotham’ - Joe Cowley - Chicago Sun-Times
- With Wade set to reutrn, are playoff within reach for these young Bulls? - Mike McGraw - Chicago Daily Herald