Nets vs. Bulls: Brooklyn Chasing Fast Finish to First Half

The Brooklyn Nets have two weeks and seven games to go before the All-Star break, and they begin that stretch with a 20-26 record and a home-road back-to-back against Chicago and Washington on Friday and Saturday.

“We want to go into the All-Star break on a positive note,” said head coach Kenny Atkinson at practice last week. “If we get our guys healthy and we get our lineups set, I feel good about the future."

The Nets have won two of three games since then, with both wins against the Detroit Pistons wrapped around a road loss to the New York Knicks on Sunday.

Center Jarrett Allen had strong games in both wins against Detroit while going up against NBA rebounding leader Andre Drummond. In Detroit on Saturday, Allen had 20 points and 15 rebounds, while in Brooklyn on Wednesday he had 11 points, six rebounds and four blocks.

Spencer Dinwiddie had 28 points on 8-of-13 shooting, his highest-scoring game since he had 36 on Dec. 30. Dinwiddie was at the center of Brooklyn runs to close the first half and open the fourth quarter.

“We started out 16-13, a big part of that was him,” said Atkinson. “The team did a great job, but he was fantastic, and I think, came back to Earth a little and tonight he was great. He was All-Star caliber tonight. Changed the game.”

Kyrie Irving had 20 points, and is averaging 24.1 points while shooting 48.8 percent overall and 45.9 percent from 3-point range over his last seven games since returning from a shoulder injury.

“I just understood the position that we were in, just getting on a good streak before we head into the All-Star break, especially as the eighth seed,” said Irving. “We let a few games go so we just wanted to get right back on the winning track. Tonight was gonna be a good test where we played the same team twice in almost four days. They made some adjustments, we made some adjustments as well and we answered all their runs.”


Garrett Temple left Wednesday’s game in the first half after taking a shot above his left eye from teammate DeAndre Jordan while going for a rebound. Temple returned in the second half with 16 stitches closing up the cut and a padded bandage over the wound.

“Until my eyebrow grows back, he’s gotta do whatever I say,” said Temple. “They took all of it off, so it’s gonna be like three weeks probably.”


This is the second meeting of the season between the Nets and Bulls. Brooklyn won the first game, 117-111 in Chicago on Nov. 16. The Bulls are 19-31 and in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, one spot behind Brooklyn.

The Bulls are 25th in the league in field goal percentage (44.0) and 24th in 3-point percentage (34.3). They’re 27th in rebounding (42.5) and blocks (4.2), and 22nd in assists (22.9) but first in steals (10.0). Chicago is 27th in offensive rating (104.7) but seventh in defensive rating (106.7).

Zach LaVine leads the Bulls with 25.1 points per game and Kris Dunn in third in the league with 2.0 steals per game.