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Preview: Nets vs. Bulls

NETS VS. BULLS: 

The Brooklyn Nets look to start a winning streak when they visit the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night at 8 p.m. eastern time. The Nets and Bulls have split the first two games of their season series, with the road team winning each time. Brook Lopez is averaging 23.5 points and 9.5 rebounds in the first two meetings.  The Bulls – who are finishing a back-to-back set – have lost three of their last four and seven of their last 10 games.

44 FOR 44:

Bojan Bogdanovic went off on Tuesday night, dropping a career-high 44 points in a 131-114 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. Bogdanovic (17-of-27) shattered Brook Lopez’s mark for points in a game this season (36) and tied Drazen Petrovic’s mark for most points scored by a foreign-born Net. Bogdanovic also shattered his previous personal best (28) by 16 points.

Bogdanovic recorded his 101st 3-pointer of the season on Tuesday, surpassing the century mark for the first time in his career. He is averaging 10.5 ppg this season.

NETS SIGN SIMS:

Per Nets PR”

The Brooklyn Nets signed center Henry Sims to a 10-day contract on Thursday morning. Sims (6-10, 248) spent a majority of the season with the Grand Rapids Drive of the NBA Development League, where he averaged 15.8 points and 8.8 rebounds in 30.0 minutes per game in 39 games (37 starts).

Sims has appeared in 121 NBA games (57 starts) in parts of three seasons with New Orleans, Cleveland and Philadelphia, recording averages of 7.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 18.8 minutes per game

BULLS FIGHTING TO MAKE PLAYOFFS

One year after winning 50 games and finishing third in the NBA’s Eastern Conference, the Chicago Bulls are fighting for their playoff lives.

The Bulls are currently in ninth place, battling the Detroit Pistons for the eighth and final playoff seed in the East this season. Both the Bulls and Pistons are at .500, with the 34-34 Pistons having played two more games than the 33-33 Bulls.

Chicago’s streak of seven straight playoff appearances is in jeopardy.

The Bulls also can’t shake the 10th-place Washington Wizards, who are only a game-and-a-half back after Chicago lost a head-to-head matchup 117-96 on Wednesday night.

JIMMY BUTLER:

Jimmy Butler is looking to find his form since returning from a knee injury. Butler has shot a combined 9-of-30 in his first two games back from a swollen knee, dropping 17 points Wednesday night against the Washington Wizards. The knee ailment kept him out for three games, but Butler’s injury troubles go much further back this season. Butler missed all but two games in February, including 11 straight from Feb. 6 to March 2. The Bulls are 5-10 without their leading scorer, who averages 22.2 ppg.

As for the Bulls’ other injuries, Derrick Rose returned to Chicago’s lineup after missing back-to-back games while Pau Gasol missed his second straight game Wednesday and his status is unclear for Thursday.