NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, January 5th (All times eastern)
Chicago Bulls (23-10) at New Jersey Nets (9-25), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Two teams headed in opposite directions meet tonight in Newark, NJ, where the Chicago Bulls try to extend their winning streak to six games against a New Jersey Nets club aiming to put the brakes on a five-game slide.
The Central Division-leading Bulls will also pay a visit to Philadelphia on its brief road trip and are 8-7 away from the United Center this season. They have won five straight and completed a perfect four-game homestand with Tuesday's 111-91 triumph over the Toronto Raptors in the Windy City.
Luol Deng scored a game-best 24 points, Derrick Rose had 19 points and six assists and Carlos Boozer provided 12 points and 13 boards for the Bulls, who have won 14 of their last 16 games.
"We just have to stay humble," Deng said. "We know what we are striving for. Winning is new for a lot of us. The main thing is we have to know that it can be gone at any time."
Taj Gibson posted 16 points and 14 rebounds off the bench in a winning effort, helping the Bulls improve to 15-3 at home this season.
New Jersey's losing streak reached five games with Saturday's 103-88 loss in Minnesota. Kevin Love scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the Timberwolves.
Sasha Vujacic matched a career-high with 22 points and Kris Humphries added 12 points and 14 rebounds for the Nets, who lost all three games on the road swing and were outscored, 23-9, in the third quarter.
"We rotated on defense, we moved the basketball and played great as a team in the second quarter, but then in third quarter, they just came out and played better than we did," Vujacic said. "We have to take a day of rest tomorrow and study to find out what we can do better in the next game."
Travis Outlaw had 17 points and Devin Harris collected 16 points and eight assists in defeat.
Chicago recently defeated New Jersey, 90-81, on New Year's Eve and has won six of the last nine games in this series. The Bulls haven't fared too well in New Jersey, losing two in a row and 18 of the last 20 contests there.
01/05 10:53:07 ET