The Bulls travel to New Jersey tonight to take on the Nets in the Prudential Center (6:30 PM CT, CSN Chicago). The Bulls 20-6 record is the best in the Eastern Conference, one game ahead of the Heat (18-6). They are percentage points behind the 18-5 Thunder for the best record in the league. The Nets are 8-17, three games behind Milwaukee for the eighth seed in the East.
Offensive Efficiency: Bulls 108.0 (3rd in the NBA), Nets 104.1 (14th)
Defensive Efficiency: Bulls 98.3 (4th), Nets 111.5 (30th)
With Luol Deng back in the lineup, there is really no excuse for the Bulls to lose this game. This is the sixth game of a nine game road trip, but they were able to come home on Friday before the Milwaukee game, and they spent another night at home after the game before traveling to New Jersey. They landed in Jersey last night about 6 PM.
Anthony Morrow, the Nets' starting SG, will miss the game to attend his grandmother's funeral. That means Keith Bogans will start against his former team, and obviously that is a huge loss for the Nets. The team has so many injuries that they will only dress nine players for tonight's game.
The Nets will be wearing their throwback New York Nets uniforms from their ABA days, which I always enjoy seeing.
Game notes, courtesy of NBA Media Central:
The Bulls defeated New Jersey 110-95 at the United Center on Jan. 23, running the Bulls’ win streak versus the Nets to three games … the last time the Bulls played in New Jersey on March 17, 2011, they won 84-73; the Bulls have not won two games in a row in New Jersey since the 1997-98 season … last season marked the third time in 11 seasons that the Bulls won the season series (3-1) against the Nets (tied series twice) … the Bulls are 3-5 against the Nets all- time in overtime games, with their most recent overtime game being played last year—New Jersey defeated the Bulls 127-116 in double overtime … in four games against the Bulls last season, Brook Lopez averaged a team-high 18.0 ppg, 5.8 rpg and 1.25 bpg.
In Saturday’s win at Milwaukee, Derrick Rose scored 26 points and handed out 13 assists (zero turnovers). His effort came two days after he posted 32 points and recorded 13 assists (two turnovers) at New York. Only two other players in team history recorded consecutive games with at least 25 points and 13 assists: Guy Rodgers in January 1967 and Michael Jordan in March 1985 (Elias Sports Bureau).
At Milwaukee on Saturday night, the Bulls set a franchise record for fewest free throw attempts in a game with four (previously five, versus Seattle on March 13, 1973). For the game, the Bucks committed just eight personal fouls (four by Brandon Jennings).
The Bulls are 10-0 this year when they score 100 or more points in a game.
The Bulls are 9-0 this year when they shoot .500 or better from the floor.
Derrick Rose is averaging 29.8 ppg (179 points) over his last six games.
The Bulls’ 20-6 record is the fourth-best start in franchise history after 26 games.
Through his first nine games of the season, Joakim Noah grabbed 67 rebounds (7.4 rpg). Over his last 16 games since, he has grabbed 163 boards (10.2 rpg).
The Bulls are allowing 88.5 ppg (third in the NBA). The Bulls’ team record for opponent scoring in a season is 89.6 ppg (1997-98).
The Bulls are 9-0 this year when they hold their opponent to less than 85 points. Last year, the Bulls held their opponent to 85 points or less an NBA-best 29 times (27-2).
On the season, the Bulls rank first in rebounds per game (44.9), second in offensive rebounds per game (12.9), third in points allowed (88.5), third in assists per game (22.6), third in blocks per game (6.15), fourth in opponent rebounds per game (39.8), fifth in turnovers per game (14.2), sixth in field goal percentage (.463), eighth in three-point field goal percentage (.375) and eighth in opponent field goal percentage (.429).