The City of Broad Shoulders comes to the Borough of Big Attitudes tonight in a battle of two playoff-bound teams.
The host Nets at 43-31 currently occupy the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference, two games ahead of 5th seed Atlanta and 2.5 ahead of 6th seed Chicago.
Both of these squads head into tonight’s 48 with significant players banged up. Starting Brooklyn off-guard Joe Johnson has missed the last five games with a combo of left heel / right quad issues, and starting SF Gerald Wallace missed last night’s game with a sore foot. Both players will be game time decisions.
PG Derrick Rose, C Joakim Noah, SG Richard Hamilton and G Marco Belinelli are already sidelined with various injuries, and coach Tom Thibodeau may have lost Taj Gibson for a while as well in Tuesday’s loss at Washington. Carlos Boozer led the Bulls in the 90-86 D.C. defeat, putting up 19 points, 12 boards and 5 assists.
Tonight’s game marks the return of the Nets to Brooklyn after an eight-game road trip in which they went 5-3, including a 113-95 shellacking of Cleveland last night that set a franchise record for road wins.
Second-year SG Marshon Brooks led coach P.J. Carlesimo’s guys with a career-high 27 points on 12 of 16 shooting to go along with 7 dimes and 4 boards. Deron Williams chipped in with 24 points and 8 assists.
This will be the fourth and final time these two teams play in the regular season. So far, the home team has come away victorious in the previous three games including the Bulls’ win in Chi-town on March 2nd.
In that game, Boozer and Noah combined for 41 points, 18 boards, 8 assists, 7 steals and 5 blocks to help lead the Bulls to a 96-85 final.
Chicago has just 9 games left in the regular season, and a W tonight would prove huge in their attempt to take over the 4th seed and secure home court in the 1st round of the playoffs.
Starting this evening Brooklyn has 5 home games and 3 away games left and with the 3rd seed Pacers a healthy 4.5 games in front of them, it’s all about defending their current position.
Tune in to TNT at 7PM ET to watch the Bulls and Nets contend for postseason positioning.