[Thanks to Peter for today's game preview -yfbb]
It certainly seems that the Bulls enjoy playing against Brooklyn. I certainly enjoy watching them play Brooklyn. The last two match ups against the Nets resulted in extremely embarrassing losses for that other team from New York.
The Nets have been playing better as of late, with wins in four of their last five outings. Shockingly, (given their disastrous beginning to the season), the Nets have a chance to be just one game under .500 before the All-Star Break. Perhaps more shockingly, the Bulls are one game over .500 right now.
Brooklyn, on the whole, is really the definition of an average team. Instead of having an elite defense and horrendous offense like the Bulls, Brooklyn settles for mediocre in both respects. The Nets have the 17th ranked offense and the 18th ranked defense. Let's break down the match ups.
PG Deron Williams vs PG Kirk Hinrich
Here are two players very prone to falling down wells. Fortunately, since Kirk is so media savvy, he actually tries to be good at basketball in nationally televised games. Unfortunately, Deron Williams is much better at basketball than Kirk Hinrich. Deron has added another disappointing year to his underwhelming Brooklyn resumè, and it's not totally clear he's better than our current "back-up" (in much the same way that Taj is a "back-up") DJ Augustin. Screw Thibs, this is actually...
PG Deron Williams vs PG DJ Augustin
And now, it's not totally clear who has the advantage.
SG Shaun Livingston vs SG Jimmy Butler
I am glad Mr. Livingston has come back to be a solid NBA player. I was personally scared to play basketball for a couple weeks after watching Livingston completely blow out his knee on a seemingly normal step towards the rim. I feel evil for even bringing this up, but it's probably not a good idea to play Jimmy 45 minutes a game. I'd guess Mr. Livingston would advise against it, considering his injury history.
SF Joe Johnson vs SF Mike Dunleavy
Oh no, the Nets' All-Star! Everyone watch out for the average NBA wing Joe Johnson. How he made the All-Star team is completely beyond me. Joe has hit a couple nice clutch shots in a couple games this year, but outside of that, he has proven to be a thoroughly average player, who excels at nothing, and is boring. Still, he's better than Mike Dunleavy.
PF Paul Pierce vs PF
Carlos Boozer Taj Gibson
It's pretty disappointing that Carlos is gonna start this game . I was hoping Thibs would turn into vengeful Thibs and not start Boozer after he whined that he doesn't finish games. This is the season that Taj has clearly turned into a better offensive player than Carlos, and Taj has been better at defense since he was a sophomore in high school. Especially against the Nets, who have been much better by going small and playing Pierce at PF, Taj would be extremely useful to start. Look for Boozer to get the hook very early in this game, and be on a "minutes limit" due to a "sore calf". I'd rather have Pierce than Boozer, but I'd rather have Taj than Pierce, so there.
C Kevin Garnett vs C Joakim Noah
My source tells me these two are actually best buds and pretend to dislike each other to increase ratings before their respective teams play. Like an epic and fake rap battle, these two media savvy men know that fans want to tune in and watch, given their respective histories.
Actually, I just have nothing to write here because it's obvious who is better and I wrote a huge post about Joakim yesterday, so I have no more Joakim-love to share.
Well, this depends...are Boozer and Kurt considered our bench? If so, well, shit. Let's pretend that Taj and DJ are on our bench. Well shit, we are good then!
The Nets actually have a solid bench with AK-47 (the best nickname in basketball) and Blatche providing quite a bit of defensive and offensive value to Brooklyn. Plumlee had a cool dunk the other day, and I hear they have this guy named Marquis Tag or Teeg or something who is a budding superstar. Again, my source told me this, and my source is Chris Broussard so everything he says is gold.