Time: 5 PM EST
Venue: Barclays Center; Brooklyn, NY
TV: NBA TV, YES2, WGN
- Brooklyn Nets: Joe Harris (Out, Shoulder), Sean Kilpatrick (Questionable, Hamstring)
- Chicago Bulls: Rajon Rondo
The Brooklyn Nets are looking to capitalize on a team that has struggled for a good portion of the season in the Chicago Bulls. After a disappointing loss to the Magic on Thursday night, the Nets quest for 20 wins faces an uphill battle against the possible playoff bound Chicago Bulls.
Chicago rides into Brooklyn possibly without starters Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade hoping to sneak into the playoffs as the eighth seed. The Bulls have been no strangers to drama and setbacks this season as it seems head coach Fred Hoiberg is always on the hot seat, Jimmy Butler is moments away from leaving the team, and a feud between Rondo, Butler, and Wade also made for a season that was never short on #content for Bulls writers.
This matchup puts Brooklyn in a conundrum for draft picks. If the Bulls win out and get into the playoffs instead of the Indiana Pacers, Brooklyn will get Indiana’s second round pick in the upcoming draft due to the Thad Young trade. If the Bulls lose some or all of their remaining games and the Pacers sneak in, then the pick remains with Indiana.
The Nets have already clinched the worst record in the league, thus the best odds to get the number one overall pick for the Boston Celtics so winning these games are now truly for pride. It begs the question, should Brooklyn tank versus the Bulls for Indiana’s draft pick? Another possible young player or asset to be packaged in a pre-draft trade is mighty tempting to go after, but I think the Nets should try to leave it all out on the floor for these next three games.
If Brooklyn wants to get the victory over the Bulls, they will need to attack the inexperienced Jerian Grant and Paul Zipser on both sides of the ball, and let Brook try to go for the All-Time Nets scoring record.
With Rondo and Wade out, this leaves to glaring holes for the Bulls. Former Knick and first round pick Jerian Grant shows a lot of promise as an NBA player, but lacks the polish and experience to go up against the likes of Jeremy Lin for 30 minutes. Grant has the physical tools to hang with Lin, but Lin’s veteran experience and craftiness will undoubtedly be more than Grant can handle.
In addition to Lin having an advantage, rookie Caris LeVert will also have a favorable matchup in rookie Paul Zipser. Zipser has been a fan favorite since arriving in Chicago but is still pretty raw as a player. He is much farther along than people were anticipating, but LeVert should be more than capable of having a big game. He set a career high in points scored last game with 20, so he should be oozing with confidence coming into this game.
Brook Lopez is only 35 points away from tying the all-time franchise record in scoring, 36 points away from breaking it. Tonight against the Chicago Bulls, he will be going up against a player he knows better than any other in the league; his twin brother Robin. It’d be an incredible moment for Nets fans and Brook if he could break the record in the final home game of the season and against his own twin brother. Brook is more than capable of scoring 35+ points in a game if I were him I would go for it tonight.