Keys To The Game: Bulls at Nets (12.4.21)

Remind Me Later

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The Chicago Bulls won their third matchup with the New York Knicks on Thursday night in Madison Square Garden. Every New York-Chicago has been a battle this season, and Thursday's was no different. Chicago built up a massive lead, which was then whittled down by a resilient Knicks squad.

DeMar DeRozan scored 34 points, including 18 in the final frame, to lift the Bulls to victory in MSG. Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic were both also huge in the win, dropping in 27 points apiece.

The Bulls will need another efficient and aggressive performance from their leading scorers to take down a Brooklyn Nets team that is scoring quite a bit as of late. The Nets have won 8 of their last 10 games.

Pursue Long Rebounds On Offense AND Defense

Against a team like the Brooklyn Nets that has players that can pull up from very, very deep 3-point range, you have to be prepared for the possibility of many long rebounds.

The Bulls did a great job of chasing down all matter of rebounds in the first matchup with the Nets, out-rebounding Brooklyn 56-42, including crushing them by nine boards on the offensive glass.

If Chicago can maintain their aggressiveness in pursuing rebounds all game, they have a good chance to catch a Brooklyn team that is on the second night of a back-to-back.

Derrick Jones Jr. dunk

Utilize The Pick-and-Roll Often

The Bulls utilize Nikola Vucevic in the pick-and-roll quite a bit, around 40% per NBA.com. That figure should increase to an even higher figure against the small-ish Nets.

Brooklyn is one of the few teams that don't have an obvious size advantage somewhere along the roster on Chicago. Young, athletic big Nic Claxton is not in the rotation. This leaves Kevin Durant, James Harden and LaMarcus Aldridge doing most of the dirty work down low.

Vucevic doesn't have many players on Brooklyn's roster to worry about when he rolls to the basket. DeRozan and LaVine will blow past defenders often but slowing their pace to ensure Vooch is in position will yield big results against the Nets. Vucevic was held to 11 points in the first Bulls-Nets game but contributed 13 rebounds, five assists and three blocks.

Nikola Vucevic shot

Big Effort From The Bench

On Saturday evening, the Bulls will be without Javonte Green and Coby White. Green was one of the Bulls main options to defend Durant and White is a big component of the Chicago bench unit. Without their contributions, the Bulls will need Alex Caruso, Derrick Jones Jr., Ayo Dosunmu and others to step up big-time.

Chicago received 33 points off the bench in their first win over the Nets including a huge 15 points from Ayo Dosunmu. Another surprise double-digit scoring effort from a bench player would go a long way to helping the Bulls outlast another big-time scoring effort from Kevin Durant.

Ayo Dosunmu dunk
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