Grade the players at any time!
Game Info: The Chicago Bulls (12-9) take on the Brooklyn Nets (13-9) tonight at 8:00 P.M. EST, at United Center in Chicago. The game will be televised on YES Network and WGN America nationally (WGN is a local Chicago channel, but broadcasts across the country). Ryan Ruocco and Greg Anthony have the call on YES. WFAN has the radio call, WADO has the Spanish radio call.
OUT: Jerry Stackhouse for the Nets. Brook Lopez is IN for the second straight night, and he’ll be again limited to 24 minutes. (Lopez played 23:50 in yesterday’s double overtime game.) Derrick Rose, Rip Hamilton, and Kirk Hinrich sit for the Chicago Bulls.
Brooklyn Nets: Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace, Reggie Evans, Brook Lopez
Toronto Raptors: Nate Robinson, Marco Belinelli, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah
Brooklyn Nets (league rank): 104.3 offensive rating (8th), 103.4 defensive rating (18th), 90.60 possessions per game (30th)
Toronto Raptors (league rank): 100.5 offensive rating (20th), 97.0 defensive rating (1st), 93.34 possessions per game (25th)
Three things to watch:
1) Minutes. Tom Thibodeau is what we’d call liberal with his playing time: Joakim Noah and Luol Deng both average over 40 minutes per game, and the Bulls are on three days of rest. Thibodeau doesn’t go deep in his rotation as a result. Conversely, Avery Johnson played Joe Johnson and Gerald Wallace 52 and 50 minutes last night, respectively, and will likely have to curb the playing time on the second night of a back-to-back. Brook Lopez is also on a 24-minute limit tonight.
2) Perimeter scoring. The Nets employ one of the better catch-and-shoot shooters in the league in Joe Johnson, and he’s finally begun looking like it. The Bulls are one of the best teams at defending catch-and-shoot plays. Johnson’s big and long enough to not get too disturbed by the likes of Marco Belinelli, but how well he adjusts to the swarming, pack-the-paint Bulls defense could swing the game.
3) D-Will. Deron Williams will primarily be guarded by Nate Robinson, who measures in at 3’8″ in platform shoes. If there’s any player Williams can dominate with his post-up and attack game, it’s Nate Robinson.