The skyline of New York City is one of the best sights in the world and for the Brooklyn Nets, it means home sweet home. The Nets finally return home after a seven-game road trip in which they went 4-3. Some might see that as a failure, but anytime you come out with more wins than losses on a road trip, it’s always a victory.
The Nets welcome the red-hot Chicago Bulls into town tonight. The Bulls have won four straight and 10 of their last 12, and one of those wins was a complete demolition of the Nets a few weeks ago in Chicago. The Bulls have won both games this year and have to be feeling pretty good about their chances. Joakim Noah is emerging as the best center in the Eastern Conference both offensively and defensively. Jimmy Butler is coming into his own, and Carlos Boozer is still the model of consistency.
The Nets are trying to reach .500 for the first time this season since November 5. Injuries have played a huge part in the Nets’ troubles this season, but the team is as healthy as it’s been all season and they have been playing like contenders since the beginning of January. Their current record does not indicate where they are as a team because they have been playing catch up all season, but they are 18-8 since January. Now that Jason Kidd can throw a full lineup on the court, we are seeing the team many believed will contend with Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers for the East title.
The game will come down to whether or not the Nets can score against the Bulls’ suffocating defense. Deron Williams will have to play one of his best games of the season and find his teammates on the wing for open perimeter shots. The Bulls’ low post offense and defense might be too much for the Nets to handle, but the Nets can prevail if their shooters are left open.
The Nets are looking for revenge and no team wants to be swept in a head-to-head season matchup. I expect the Nets to come out strong in their first home game in two weeks. If the season was to end today, this would be a first-round matchup and the Nets want to deliver a message to Noah and co. that they are a legitimate playoff team.