Pregame New Year’s Eve Open Thread: New Jersey Nets at Chicago Bulls

Happy New Year’s Eve Nets fans! Before you all ring in 2011, the Nets have an afternoon matinee today in Chicago. This will be the first meeting with the Bulls this season, who have been one of the better teams in the East through their first 30 games. The Nets come off of two disappointing performances against Orlando and OKC, and in today’s Star-Ledger there was an interesting look on whether the Nets have lost their losing mentality or not (let’s be honest, they haven’t). Here are some keys to keep an eye on today in the Windy City:

Devin vs. Derrick: Derrick Rose burst onto the scene a few years ago and has quickly become one of the top 5 point guards in the NBA. He is averaging 24 points and 8.5 assists per game in his first 29 contests of the season. If the Nets are going to keep this one close today and have a chance to win, Devin Harris will have to play well and not just let D. Rose do whatever he wants out there.

Offensive Execution: The Nets were never really in their last two games against the Magic and Thunder and a big reason for that was offensive execution. In the Orlando game, they didn’t turn it over that much (only 14 times) but shot just 39.7% from the field. That scenario was reversed against OKC, as the team shot 47.9% but turned it over 23 times. It would be nice to see them combine their offensive effort and keep the turnover numbers down while shooting a respectable percentage from the field.

Can Nets Power Forwards Slow Down Boozer? Although he missed the first part of the season, Carlos Boozer has come back with a vengeance and has been particularly effective over his last few games. He has double-doubles in four of his last five and has scored at least 24 points in the Bulls’ last four. The Nets power forward trio of Kris Humphries, Troy Murphy and Derrick Favors will have to try and slow down Boozer on defense, and will also need to produce on offense to make him work.