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Nets host Bulls on Drazen Petrovic night

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NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Chicago Bulls Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Eight isn't enough. The Brooklyn Nets returned from the All Star break hoping to get off to a good start and end their seven game losing streak. They weren't able to accomplish and lost to the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night. It doesn't get any easier from here as they're hitting the road as soon as this one ends.

The opponent tonight will be the Chicago Bulls. It's been a nothing season for the Bulls and their eyes are strictly on the upcoming Draft. They lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves at home on Saturday night.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. WFAN 101.9 FM on radio. Tip off after 7:30.

Injuries

Caris Levert and Rondae Hollis Jefferson have been out of action for a while due to injuries, but they'll be available for this one. Isaiah Whitehead, after scoring 52 points in 38 minutes with Long Island on Sunday, remains in the G-League

Paul Zipser missed Saturday’s game with a foot injury. No word on his availability for this one.

The game

Now that the Bulls are all in on tanking rebuilding, that means they will need to see what their young players can do. And for a veteran like Robin Lopez, that means he won't be seeing the court much these days. He understands what's going on and the Bulls hope that he'll be able to mentor some of their young players.

Having Levert and RHJ back will do wonders for Brooklyn. They've been two of the Nets' best players and they both provide solid rebounding, defense, and ball handling skills. They're not expected to start and I wouldn't be surprised if they're both on minutes restriction. Brooklyn has a back-to-back tomorrow night in Cleveland, so we'll see how they do tonight and if they'll play tomorrow.

Meanwhile, as Fred Kerber points out, the Nets need to hit their three point shots. They’re certainly putting up enough of them. In the past five games, the Nets have attempted 228 3-point shots — 45.6 a game. Consider, in their last five, the Rockets tried 220. Suffice it to say the Rockets have made more.

Honoring Petro

But bigger than the game will be the Nets honoring of Drazen Petrovic, their Hall of Famer who died 25 years ago in an auto accident in Germany while still at the height of his career. Petrovic’s mother will be on hand for the ceremony. The first 10,000 fans to arrive will be given Petrovic figurines.

Petrovic, Derrick Coleman and Kenny Anderson were supposed to be the Nets young core, but as Anderson told Brian Lewis...

“What would it have been if we kept that team together? If we’d stayed together what career would it have been? I have a lot of Nets stuff around the house. I always tell my wife how would it have been. It was tough when he passed away in that accident. Everything went south in the organization. It was just tragic.”

Player to watch: Zach Lavine

As the main player coming to Chicago in the Jimmy Butler trade, there’s a lot of pressure on Lavine to play well. He's been working his way back from knee surgery and the plan for the rest of this season is to play every game from here on out. As you would expect from a player recovering from a knee injury, Lavine hasn't been finishing at the rim as well as he did before the injury. However, he's starting to get back into the swing of things and Fred Hoiberg has noted his improvement:

“He’s doing a much better job not settling for tough shots,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “He’s attacking the basket much better than he was. You can just see him getting his legs, getting more comfortable. It was good to see him as a playmaker, he was terrific.”

Allen Crabbe will get the assignment on Lavine tonight. Although the team has struggled during the losing streak, Crabbe has managed to turn his season around. Over the last eight games, Crabbe is averaging 17.1 points a night on a 42.5/40.8/85.7 shooting split. With the roster getting back to full health (relatively speaking), he won't need to do as much on offense. When he's guarding Lavine on defense, his job will be to limit his penetration and force him into tough jumpers.

From the Vault

Since it’s Drazen Petrovic night, let’s watch him go up against Michael Jordan.

More reading: Blog a Bull