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NBA Playoffs 2013: Brooklyn Nets (4) vs Chicago Bulls (5) Preview

Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Playoff Schedule

Game 1 – Saturday, April 20, Chicago at Brooklyn, 8 p.m., ESPN

Game 2 – Monday, April 22, Chicago at Brooklyn, 8 p.m., TNT

Game 3 – Thursday, April 25, Brooklyn at Chicago, 8:30 p.m., NBATV

Game 4 – Saturday, April 27, Brooklyn at Chicago, 2 p.m., TNT

Game 5* – Monday, April 29, Chicago at Brooklyn, TBD

Game 6* – Thursday, May 2, Brooklyn at Chicago, TBD

Game 7* – Saturday, May 4, Chicago at Brooklyn, TBD

Season Record

Brooklyn Nets (49-33, second in Atlantic Division) vs Chicago Bulls (45-37, second in Central Division)

Season Series: Chicago Bulls 3-1

December 15, 2012 (83-82 for Chicago)

February 1, 2013 (93-89 for Brooklyn)

March 2, 2013 (96-85 for Chicago)

April 4, 2013 (92-90 for Chicago)

Key Matchups

Deron Williams vs Nate Robinson/Derrick Rose?

Joe Johnson vs Luol Deng

Brook Lopez vs Joakim Noah

Stat Leaders
Points: Nets – Brook Lopez (19.4), Luol Deng (16.5)
Rebounds: Nets – Reggie Evans (11.1), Joakim Noah (11.1)
Assists: Nets – Deron Williams (7.7), Kirk Hinrich (5.2)
Fun Fact
Reggie Evans is the only player in the NBA averaging double-digit rebounds (11.1), but not in points (4.5).

How the Brooklyn Nets will win this series:

Despite being ranked sixth in the NBA in post defense (courtesy of synergy sports), the Chicago Bulls have been unable to slow down Brook Lopez this season. Over four games against the Bulls, Lopez is averaging 22.0 points on 52.9% shooting. Chicago will make adjustments on defense, but expect to see a lot of Lopez early on in this series to see what kind of offense the Nets can get down low. With Joakim Noah nursing injuries (questionable for game 1), the Nets would be crazy not to feed the ball to Brook.

How the Chicago Bulls will win this series:

The recent news from coach Tom Thibodeau that Derrick Rose is not likely to return for the playoffs is a huge blow to the Bulls chances, but don’t count them out just yet. Carlos Boozer has found some success in the past against Brooklyn, averaging 21.3 points and 10.7 rebounds against the Nets this season. The defense of all-star Luol Deng and young prospect Jimmy Butler will need to contain Joe Johnson, who is averaging 16.3 points on the season and 16.9 points over his playoff career. Chicago will need to overcome their injuries and put some points on the board, as they sit second-last in the league in points per game at 93.2.

Final Prediction: Brooklyn Nets in seven

Chris Walder is the Editor of Sir Charles in Charge. You may follow him on Twitter at @WalderSports

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Topics: Brook Lopez, Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls, Joakim Noah, NBA Playoffs

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