Game 26: Chicago Bulls (15-10) versus Brooklyn Nets (7-20)
Location: United Center – Chicago
Time: 7:00 p.m. central
TV: Comcast SportsNet Chicago, YES Network
The Bulls will hope to end their two-game losing streak Monday night at the United Center when they host the Brooklyn Nets for the second time this regular season, and this is one game the Bulls should be able to do just that.
Even though the Bulls’ recent losses have dropped them to No. 4 in the Eastern Conference, they’re still much better off than the Nets, who sit at No. 14 (second-to-last) with a 7-20 record. Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson are still leading the Nets, but it hasn’t been enough for them in what has become a more competitive Eastern Conference. Through 27 games, the Nets are averaging just 95.7 points per game and giving up 102.6 points.
Matchup of the Game
Pau Gasol versus Brook Lopez
Gasol sat out Saturday night’s loss to the Knicks after playing in Friday quadruple-overtime loss, so he has had some extra rest compared to his teammates. He’ll especially be needed in Monday night’s game, though, with his matchup being against the Nets’ leading scorer Lopez, who averages 19.3 points.
Gasol isn’t particularly known for his defense, but he has the size to put up with and challenge Lopez; however, if Gasol can make his presence felt on the offensive end, it should slow down Lopez, forcing him to work on both sides of the court. Gasol also hasn’t been established in the game as much as he had last season, and it’s important that he do so with Bobby Portis‘ expected to increase — Portis had 20 points and 11 rebounds in 23 minutes in Saturday’s loss.
Hoiberg: "We have to find minutes for Bobby. He's ready."
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) December 21, 2015
The Bulls lost their second-straight game Saturday night when they fell to the Knicks 107-91. It was a loss expected by many, though, since the Bulls were coming of a quadruple-overtime loss the night before. Despite that, the Bulls actually opened the game on a strong note.
The Bulls opened the game on a 12-2 run, but allowed the Knicks to catch up and take the lead by the end of the first quarter. By halftime, the Bulls trailed the Knicks 49-39 and the deficit only increased.
The Nets are coming off a 100-85 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday afternoon. The Nets fell behind from the get-go, trailing 26-16 after the first quarter. They then outscored the Timberwolves 27-26 in the second quarter, the Net’s best offensive quarter. This run made it so the Nets went into halftime trailing 52-43, but the Nets couldn’t keep cutting down their deficit, so the Timberwolves remained ahead for the rest of the game.
Last Time They Met
Oct. 28: Bulls defeat Nets 115-100
Our “Quick Take” from the Fast-Break Recap:
The Bulls opened the game with a 7-0 lead that then easily translated into a double-digit lead. The Nets caught up by halftime with three points separating the scores and again in the latter end of the fourth quarter, but the Bulls pulled away by closing out the game with their starters.
To read more about how the Bulls and Nets fared in their last game, read our full recap!
Ashley is the owner/editor of The Bulls Charge. Follow her on Twitter at @wijangco12.