On Friday, the P.J. and the gang will be hard-pressed to avoid dropping two in a row when they face a Chicago Bulls that leads the Eastern conference in road victories.
Thirteen of the Chicago's 28 victories have come away from the friendly confines of the United Center, but this will be the Bulls' first visit to Brooklyn's new arena. Chicago nipped the Nets at home 83-82 back in mid-December thanks to a double-double from All-Star Joakim Noah.
Noah is questionable for Friday night's meeting in Brooklyn thanks to a foot injury feared to be plantar fasciitis. He isn't alone Carlos Boozer (right hamstring) is also out, as is starting point guard Kirk Hinrich, who was sent back to Chicago with an elbow injury. Taj Gibson started Wednesday vs. the Bucks in Boozer's place, providing the Bulls with a well-rounded line of 14 points, nine rebounds and two blocks.
Whoever starts will be tasked with containing a white-hot Brook Lopez, who has broken the 20-point barrier in six of his last nine games. The Brooklyn big man has also shown a surprising block savvy as of late, averaging three swats a game over his past six contests.
Unfortunately for the Nets, Joe Johnson has been the polar opposite of Lopez lately, averaging 13.3 points per game while Brooklyn has dropped three of their last four. Across that span, the usually dead-eye Johnson has shot 36.7 percent from the field with Wednesday's 4-for-15 performance against Miami being the low point.
Johnson's not likely to catch much of a break against the Bulls either, as Chicago is the second-best defensive team in the NBA in terms of field goal percentage allowed. The Bulls have also held seven straight opponents under 90 points so it would probably be wise to take the under in this one.
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
TV Coverage: YES Network
Odds: Nets by 3