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Nets wrap up January at home vs the Bulls

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Sacramento Kings v Chicago Bulls Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Doing the best that they can. On an emotional night at Barclays Center, the Brooklyn Nets came away with a win against the Detroit Pistons. It was a nice moment of positivity after what's been an emotionally draining few days.

The opponent tonight will be the Chicago Bulls. Simply put, the Bulls are sorry as hell. They find themselves out of the playoff race yet again and will spend another offseason trying to figure out just what they're trying to do. They tricked off a lead late against the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night and lost in overtime.

Where to follow the game

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

Injuries

Just about everybody is good to go. Only Kevin Durant is out.

Lauri Markkanen, Otto Porter Jr., and Wendell Carter are all out. Eek.

The game

Brooklyn won the first meeting in November.

This is the first night of a back-to-back for the Nets. They're in DC to face the Wizards on Saturday night.

It was an emotional night for Kyrie Irving on Wednesday, but he made it through. Like all of us, Irving is still reeling from the sudden passing of Kobe and Gianna Bryant. It’s going to take a long time for us to get back to a sense of normalcy, and a sense of community and togetherness will be the thing that carries us through. Tell your people you love em, y’all.

Irving played big minutes in the last back-to-back he was available, and he’s a sure bet to play both sides of this one.

Brooklyn ought to own the boards. The Bulls have been the second worst rebounding team in the league this year, and the loss of Carter has hurt them dramatically. Jarrett Allen and Deandre Jordan ought to feast tonight.

Both teams are similarly sloppy taking care of the ball, so expect lots of bricks and turnovers. Yuck.

It’s always good to see an old friend of ours come back to town. Thaddeus Young has carved out a nice career for himself as it’s taken him from Philly, Minnesota, Brooklyn, Indiana, and now Chicago. Amazingly, he’s only 31. He feels a lot older, though.

Player to watch: Zach Lavine

So what do you do when you hate your boss but he won't go away? That's the question Zach Lavine faces every day he goes to work as he's stuck with Sgt. Jim Boylen roaming the sidelines. For what it's worth, he's taken on more offensive responsibility this year and has made some gains. He's turning the ball over less than he did last year and is taking a lot more threes. He’s currently second in the NBA in total minutes and is the only player worth watching on the Bulls. Tom Haberstroh of NBC Sports is on the Lavine to the All Star Game bandwagon and wrote:

On a team that has been wrecked by injuries (again, the Bulls’ promising four-man core has played all of nine games together since last season’s trade deadline), LaVine hasn’t missed a single game this season and ranks third in the NBA in field goals, sixth in 3-pointers, 11th in steals and 12th in free throws. His shot selection has been much healthier this season, shooting 38.0 percent on 8.1 3-point attempts per game and trimming his mid-range diet significantly. These are good things because LaVine shoots worse on long 2s than 3s and, you know, three is more than two.

If he gets in, at least Bulls fans would get something cool to celebrate with the game being in their house this year.

Another guy hoping to sneak their way on to the All Star team is Spencer Dinwiddie. Number 26 is coming off the bench again, but the role suits him. He’s held it down on the second unit, while Caris Levert has... not. We’ll get to Levert and his struggles another day. In the meantime, Din ought to cook the Bulls again. He turned it on late in the first meeting and got BK across the finish line.

From the Vault

Speaking of Chicago teams that have seen better days...

And tonight the team is giving away bobbleheads of the Notorious B.I.G. Is there ever a wrong time to play some Biggie? No, there is not.

More reading: Blog a Bull