The Brooklyn Nets on Friday can complete their first 4-game season sweep of the Chicago Bulls since 2004-05 with a victory at Barclays Center.
The Brooklyn Nets enter Friday’s game at Barclays Center against the Chicago Bulls with an opportunity to do something the team hasn’t done since their first season in the borough — enter the All-Star break with a winning record.
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The Nets (29-27) snapped a three-game losing streak with their 135-130 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday and can clinch a winning record entering the break by getting win No. 30 against the Bulls.
Brooklyn will have two games remaining after Friday, road games Monday and Wednesday against the Toronto Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers, respectively.
The Nets were 31-22 heading into the All-Star break in 2013, but have not been above .500 at that point in the season since, though they did rebound to finish 44-38 in 2013-14.
Brooklyn should get a big emotional boost Friday with the return of Caris LeVert to the rotation. The third-year wing missed the last 42 games after dislocating his right foot on Nov. 12, but practiced twice this week with the G-League’s Long Island Nets and on Thursday coach Kenny Atkinson confirmed LeVert’s availability against Chicago.
He will be on an unspecified minutes restriction — Allen Crabbe played just 13 minutes on Wednesday against the Nuggets in his first game since Dec. 12 — but LeVert was leading the Nets in scoring at the time he went down in a road loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves nearly three months ago.
LeVert’s return mitigates the Nets’ active roster dropping to 14 players after Mitch Creek‘s 10-day contract was terminated on Thursday. Brooklyn needed to clear a roster spot for Greg Monroe, who was acquired in a deadline deal from the Raptors along with a 2021 second-round pick.
The Nets sent cash considerations to Toronto and then immediately waived Monroe, leaving the roster one player short of the league maximum. Brooklyn also has two-way players Alan Williams and Theo Pinson.
Chicago (12-42) comes in with two straight losses, including a 125-120 loss at home Wednesday to the New Orleans Pelicans, and was quiet at the deadline Thursday. However, the Bulls had traded Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker to the Washington Wizards Wednesday night, getting back Otto Porter in return.
The Nets have beaten the Bulls six straight times, including sweeping all three meetings last season, and with a win Friday would secure their first four-game season sweep over Chicago since 2004-05.
Here are three things to watch when Brooklyn hosts Chicago Friday night.