(Sports Network) - The Brooklyn Nets finally return to the Barclays Center
Thursday night after an eight-game road trip and face a huge Eastern
Conference clash with the Chicago Bulls.
The Nets went 5-3 on the sojourn thanks to a 113-95 victory Wednesday over the
Cleveland Cavaliers. The win put the Nets at 21-17 on the road and guaranteed
the first winning road record in franchise history.
"This franchise, 36 years old, this is the most wins we've ever had on the
road, this is the first winning record we've ever had on the road," said
interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo. "That's really a significant
accomplishment, so I'm proud of (our players)."
Wednesday's victory also put some distance between the Nets and those chasing
them. Brooklyn is fourth in the Eastern Conference, which puts them two games
ahead of the Atlanta Hawks and 2 1/2 games in front of the Bulls.
Against the Cavs, the Nets were without the services of starters Joe Johnson
(sore left heel) and Gerald Wallace (sore left foot). Their availability for
Thursday is unknown.
MarShon Brooks started in place of Johnson and led Brooklyn with 27 points.
Deron Williams scored 24 and Brook Lopez (14), C.J. Watson (12) and Andray
Blatche (11) all scored in double figures. Reggie Evans pulled down 18
The Nets play three straight at home, starting with the Bulls.
The Bulls have lost two of three after a 90-86 setback Tuesday against the
Washington Wizards in D.C.
The loss hurt more than most for a Bulls squad decimated by injuries. Already
without Joakim Noah, Marco Belinelli, Rip Hamilton and of course, Derrick
Rose, Taj Gibson played less than 10 minutes after re-aggrevating the knee
injury that cost him 10 games last month.
"That's what happens when you rush back to try to help your team win," said
Gibson. "I tried to play through it. I got nicked up the last couple of games,
but kept playing. I told (coach Tom Thibodeau) to take me out. I couldn't keep
going. I didn't want to hurt my teammates. It was real painful.
"Hopefully, it's not as bad as before. I hope there's no swelling. They said
it's the same injury, strained MCL. But I don't know the severity yet. Just
pushed the issue on this."
That will cripple an already depleted frontline that saw Luol Deng go almost
42 minutes on Tuesday and 35-year-old Nazr Mohammed 36 minutes.
The game with Washington was tight, but the Bulls were dealt a blow when
starting point guard Kirk Hinrich was ejected with a little less than five
"No explanation. But in that situation, late in a game, you've just got to try
to avoid that happening," said Hinrich.
The Bulls missed a slew of late free throws and lost their second straight on
Carlos Boozer led the way with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Mohammed also had a
double-double with 12 and 12 and Nate Robinson, Jimmy Butler and Deng all
scored in double figures.
The Bulls won both of this season's matchups at home and Brooklyn prevailed at
the Barclays Center in early February. Chicago has dropped 17 of its last 20
on the road in this series.
The Sports Network