Brooklyn Nets at Chicago Bulls (-5, 177.5)
The Chicago Bulls could be severely shorthanded when they host the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday. Starters Richard Hamilton and Luol Deng are expected to be game-time decisions for Chicago, which capped off a dismal month of February with a 93-82 home victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday behind a monster performance from center Joakim Noah. It was only the fifth win in 13 games for the Bulls, who trail the Central Division-leading Indiana Pacers by 3 1/2 games.
Brooklyn dropped a 98-90 home decision to the Dallas Mavericks on Friday. It was the third loss in four games for the Nets, who hold a half-game edge on the Bulls for fifth place in the Eastern Conference. Brooklyn's chances of winning the Atlantic Division title have taken a major hit following a stretch in which it has dropped six of nine home games. The Nets trail division leader New York by three games and are five back of the Knicks in the loss column.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, YES (Brooklyn), WGN (Chicago)
ABOUT THE NETS (34-25): Guard Joe Johnson had turned in two of his best performances of the season before injuring his foot in a win at Milwaukee on Feb. 20. Johnson sat out three games before returning to the lineup Friday and, not surprisingly, struggled by scoring 11 points and committing four turnovers. Deron Williams had his third consecutive game with at least 24 points but also was plagued by the turnover bug, matching his season high with seven as Brooklyn committed 20 to negate a 44-31 rebounding edge.
ABOUT THE BULLS (33-25): Noah's dominant performance in Thursday's game was still the talk of Chicago a day later. He recorded the third triple-double of his career with some staggering numbers: 23 points, 21 rebounds and a career-high 11 blocked shots. Teammate Carlos Boozer referred to the totals as "legendary stuff" while coach Tom Thibodeau raved about both the performance and its impact. "When you get an effort like that that, it ignites and inspires your team," Thibodeau said. "It makes other guys do the same."
* Nets are 4-1 ATS in their last five road games.
* Under is 4-1 in Nets’ last five overall.
* Road team is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings.
* Bulls are 1-6 ATS in their last seven Saturday games.
1. The teams have split two meetings this season that were decided by a total of five points.
2. Brooklyn handed Chicago one of its seven home losses last season.
3. Hamilton missed Thursday's game with back spasms while Deng had some teeth loosened when he was elbowed in the head.