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Bulls host Nets in marquee East showdown

The Brooklyn Nets will visit the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night from United Center in Chicago, Illinois.

The Nets and Bulls have already met twice this season and Wednesday’s game will be the final of three meetings between the two clubs.

The Bulls took each of the first two matchups. The first took place in early November where the Bulls won convincingly at home by a score of 118-95. The second meeting came in early December when the Nets played host but once again came up short as the Bulls came away with another win, 111-107.

Wednesday’s game will mark the second of a three-game homestand for the Bulls while the Nets wrap up a brief two-game road trip.

Bulls look for 11th win in 12 games

The Bulls are one of the hottest teams in basketball right now, second to only and arguably the Memphis Grizzlies who have won ten-straight. The Bulls have won ten of their last 11 and 14 of their last 17. They will be tested on Wednesday against a loaded Nets roster, and also on Friday when the Golden State Warriors visit.

Over their last 11, the Bulls have the best offense in the NBA and it frankly is not very close. They have posted a 119.6 offensive rating over that span, 3.1 points per 100 possessions better than the next best team; the Utah Jazz. Defensively, they have been average, recording a 110.4 defensive rating which is good for 16th in the league. However, they have scored the ball at such a high clip that it barely matters. They still sit at +9.2 per 100 possessions over those 11 games which is third best in the NBA.

The Bulls had won nine in a row before the Dallas Mavericks played spoiler on Sunday. They have since gotten back on track with an easy 133-87 blowout win over the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday.

At 27-11, the Bulls currently hold the number one seed in the Eastern Conference.

Nets have lost five of seven

Things are going in a different direction for Brooklyn. The Nets have gone just 2-5 in their last seven games and have fallen to 2.5 games back of the Bulls first in the East. The Miami Heat sit just a half-game back of Brooklyn for second.

Star Nets guard Kyrie Irving has recently returned to the team to begin playing road games. He was held out for the beginning of the season due to vaccination status restrictions in New York. He is questionable to play with an ankle issue. James Harden’s status is also up in the air due to a knee injury.

The workload will fall onto Nets superstar Kevin Durant once again if Irving and Harden are unable to play. Durant played a combined 85 minutes in the Nets’ Sunday/Monday back-to-back. Asked about his minutes, the 33-year-old seemed anything but concerned after the Nets’ 114-108 loss in Portland.

“No, let me die out there,” he said. “Nah, I’m just playing. No, I’m not concerned.” 

Players to watch

DeMar DeRozan has been sensational over the Bulls’ 10-1 stretch. Over that span he has put up 25.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game on 48.4% shooting and 45.5% from three.

DeMar DeRozan Props:

Points: 26.5 (Over: 2.05 | Under: 1.83)

Rebounds: 5.5 (Over: 2.25 | Under: 1.64)

Assists: 4.5 (Over: 2.00 | Under: 1.80)

Blocks: 0.5 (Over: 3.20 | Under: 1.32)

Threes-made: 0.5 (Over: 2.05 | Under: 1.74)

Points + Rebounds + Assists: 35.5 (Over: 1.86 | Under: 1.95)

Durant is having another exceptional season, no different than the past 14. This year he has recorded 29.8 points, 7.7 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game on 51.8% shooting, 36.2% from three and 89.2% from the free throw line.

Kevin Durant Props:

Points: 31.5 (Over: 2.00 | Under: 1.83)

Rebounds: 8.5 (Over: 1.95 | Under: 1.86)

Assists: 5.5 (Over: 2.00 | Under: 1.80)

Blocks: 1.5 (Over: 2.45 | Under: 1.52)

Threes-made: 1.5 (Over: 1.60 | Under: 2.30)

Points + Rebounds + Assists: 44.5 (Over: 1.86 | Under: 1.90)

Game Odds

With some key Nets players’ availability status unknown, the Bulls are favored slightly in this one. Chicago goes in as two-point favorites.

Spread: Nets (+2) 1.90 | Bulls (-2) 1.94

Money Line: Nets 2.10 | Bulls 1.80

Over/Under: Over (234) 1.93 | Under (234) 1.91

Tip off is scheduled for 10:00 pm ET.