Read a preview and watch a live stream of the Nets vs the Bulls.
Where: United Center, Chicago.
When: Friday February 14, 01:00 GMT
With two games remaining ahead of the All-Star weekend, the Chicago Bulls tip things off as they prepare to host the Brooklyn Nets.
The Bulls came out on top in their only previous meeting so far this season, securing a 95-78 win at the Barclays Center back in December.
However, Brooklyn have been a completely different team since the New Year, and will be looking for their fifth win in their last six games.
At 24-26 for the season, Jason Kidd’s men are back in the playoff mix in seventh spot in the Eastern Conference, but despite predictions of a struggle without Derrick Rose and Luol Deng, the Bulls find themselves in fourth spot and just a game-and-a-half adrift of the Toronto Raptors in third.
Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson have been leading the way in the front-court with their recent dominant performances, but the latter is expected to drop back to the bench if Carlos Boozer is deemed fit enough to return from a calf strain.
However, coach Tom Thibodeau has been full of praise for All-Star Noah, who recorded his fourth career triple-double against the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday, and is now averaging 15.0 points, 13.3 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game across the last four.
“I think the big thing is he’s healthy. He’s gotten into rhythm,” Thibodeau said. “I think missing training camp set him back offensively. Defensively he’s been terrific all year.”
Meanwhile, Paul Pierce has undoubtedly stepped up for the visitors having totalled 25 points over his previous three games, while Deron Williams will look to continue his good form when playing against his Eastern Conference rivals.
Given the Bulls generally tend to win with tough defense as opposed to high scoring, this should be a gritty and close encounter with Brooklyn limiting opponents to 38.8 shooting in the last two games.
However, having lost 12 of their last 15 regular season trips to Chicago, Kidd and his team will have to come up with something special before the All-Star break to secure the win.