UPDATE:Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah WILL start despite fighting plantar fasciitis.
Brooklyn Nets: 105.0 offensive rating (9th), 103.6 defensive rating (18th), 91.23 possessions per game (28th)
Chicago Bulls: 100.4 offensive rating (24th), 100.3 defensive rating (5th), 91.97 possessions per game (27th)
Brooklyn Nets: Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace, Reggie Evans, Brook Lopez (640 minutes, +4.4 per 100 possessions)
Chicago Bulls: Kirk Hinrich, Jimmy Butler, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah (46 minutes, -4.9 per 100 possessions)
Season Series: The Bulls won 3 of 4 games, with all but one matchup decided by four or fewer points. More on the series here.
Three things to look out for:
1) The pace. These two teams play a slow, grind-it-out, half-court style of basketball, but Nets guard Deron Williams told reporters he wants to try to get out on the break more against Chicago. The Bulls are such a solid defensive team in the halfcourt that if the Nets can speed up the game a bit in “semi-transition,” they could get some quick baskets.
2) The bigs. Joakim Noah will start against the Nets tonight, but the Bulls didn’t need him the last time these two teams played — forward Carlos Boozer put up 29 points and 18 rebounds as he led the Bulls to a 92-90 victory that went down to the last possessions. Boozer made multiple fadeaway jumpers over Reggie Evans — a shot the Nets will live with — en route to the victory, and if the Nets can ride Lopez against the hobbled Noah/Nazr Mohammed/Taj Gibson while keeping Boozer away from the rim, they should be able to take advantage.
3) Deron Williams. His first playoff game in Brooklyn. No expansion here. Just really, really excited to see this.
Bonus: the crowd. What is Brooklyn’s home-court advantage in the playoffs? How will the crowd respond in its first playoff game in Brooklyn since 1956?
The BK Playoff Game: Play to win one of three Amazon Gift Cards.
It’s finally here. Go Nets.