Bulls host Nets, eye return to .500 (Dec 28, 2016)

BY AP • December 28, 2016

CHICAGO -- Dwyane Wade and his Chicago Bulls teammates have tried to stay positive despite an ugly stretch in which they lost six of the past eight games.

The Bulls (15-16) have an opportunity to climb back to .500 when they host the Brooklyn Nets (8-22) on Wednesday night at the United Center.

"I don't care who we're playing, where we're playing, none of that matters to us," Wade said. "It's just about getting better from one game to the next.

"We've gotten better in stretches in this losing streak. Sometimes when you win, the way you play (badly) gets covered up. Sometimes when you lose, the way you play well gets covered up. So we have played well, we just haven't played well for long enough. As long as we continue to understand that, we'll be all right."

The game marks the second of four meetings this season. Chicago cruised to a 118-88 victory Oct. 31 to continue its trend of dominance against the Nets. The Bulls have won the season series for six straight years.

Forward Jimmy Butler is averaging 24 points to lead the Bulls in scoring. Wade has thrived during his first season in Chicago with 19.2 points, including back-to-back performances with 20-plus points.

Brooklyn has endured a miserable season but is coming off a thrilling victory. Guard Randy Foye hit a game-winning 3-pointer with 0.9 seconds remaining Monday night to seal a 120-118 win over the Charlotte Hornets.

The shot marked the second career buzzer-beater for Foye. He could receive additional playing time against the Bulls in place of Jeremy Lin, who left Monday's game in the third quarter because of a strained left hamstring. The same injury caused Lin to miss 17 games earlier this season.

Foye, 33, is averaging 4.6 points and 1.9 assists in limited time.

"I know a lot of you guys probably don't see it, but even when I wasn't playing well and I wasn't getting the minutes, I was working my tail off," Foye told reporters after Monday's victory. "Just believing one day I'm going to get in and make something happen. Defensive end, offensive end, whatever, I'm going to try to help this team win. That's what I've been doing day in and day out."

The game features a matchup of 7-foot-tall twins Brook Lopez of the Nets and Robin Lopez of the Bulls. In the brothers' first matchup this season, Brook Lopez scored 13 points and grabbed two rebounds while Robin Lopez scored four points and pulled down five rebounds.

On the season, Brook Lopez leads Brooklyn with 20.4 points per game. He and Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks are the only two players in the NBA with 50-plus 3-pointers and 50-plus blocked shots this season.

Bulls forward Doug McDermott missed Monday's game against the Indiana Pacers because of a bruised left shin, and his status for Wednesday is uncertain. McDermott averages 9.7 points in 18 games off the bench.



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