The Nets are hoping for their 13th consecutive win against the Bulls

The Brooklyn Nets will be looking to extend their winning streak to 13 games when they travel to the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday.

Brooklyn’s current 12-game streak is the NBA’s best streak this season and shows no signs of slowing down, with two recent wins against the San Antonio Spurs (139-103) and the Charlotte Hornets (123-106) for a total of 53 points.

In those 12 games, the Nets moved away from the field as the best offensive team in the league. In fact, their 124.2 points per 100 possessions is 6.0 points higher than the second-placed Portland Trail Blazers (118.2).

This difference is greater than the distance between the Trail Blazers and the 24th ranked Minnesota Timberwolves (112.9).

Their offensive firepower was ignited by the incredible and perhaps unbalanced performance of their All-NBA duo.

In his last 12 games, Kevin Durant shot 59.2 percent from the field – well above his career-high 53.7 field goal percentage from the 2016-17 and 2020-21 seasons. The same goes for Kyrie Irving, who led the team with 29.3 points on 54.3 percent shooting, which would surely set new career highs.

The all-time record for three-pointers in a season is held by the Charlotte Hornets in the 1996-97 season, which was 42.7 percent, while the Nets had an unprecedented 44.2 percent three-pointer during that period.

Unless this couple – both in their 30s – and the Nets as a whole really intend to break their own personal and franchise records, they’re going to have to come down to earth at some point.

However, there is no indication that the Bulls will be a team equipped to stand in their way.

During the Nets’ winning streak, the Bulls had the third-worst defense in the NBA, conceding 119.2 points per 100 possessions.

A big part of that was their inability to rebound and finish off defenses. They allow 16.8 second-chance points per game – the second highest – while being the worst offensive team in the league, collecting only 21.9 percent of their own misses.

The Bulls were also the absolute worst team in the league for 3-point reduction, averaging 15.7 three-pointers per game at a 38.6 percent shooting percentage.

But while the three-pointer has been the Nets’ best friend and the Bulls’ worst enemy, it’s also the most volatile method of scoring, with teams generally regressing to average over the course of an 82-game season.

This means the Nets won’t be shooting as well and the Bulls won’t continue to fire at long range at this rate – and while it’s impossible to predict when things will start to turn in the opposite direction, both teams have time to change their fortunes.

MAIN CONTRACTORS

Brooklyn Nets – Kyrie Irving

While Durant is the Nets’ undisputed best player, Irving is the X factor, and his strong matches generally coincide with wins.

Irving shoots 52.6 percent from the field and 43.7 percent from the depth in the 18 wins he has been involved in, while those scores drop to 44.9 percent from the field and 24.7 percent from three-pointers in his nine losses .

Chicago Bulls-Zach Lavine

A similar situation is with the Bulls, who have DeMar DeRozan as a constant focal point but rely on Zach Lavine to provide extra firepower to a team lacking in three-point threats.

This season, the Bulls hit just 10.6 three-pointers per game – the fourth-worst in the league – but in the 15 wins Lavine played, he hit 3.5 three-pointers per game with a red-hot 46.1 percent. This is a stark contrast to his 2.2 three-pointers at 30.6 percent in his 18 losses.

A KEY BATTLE – Who can control the paint?

It seems clear that whoever catches fire from long range is likely to win, but with so much volatility associated with a high number of 3-pointers, it could come down to which team gets the easiest baskets.

A diet of throws, dunks and free kicks will always be the most balanced form of attack, and the Nets are a team that lacks true size beyond starting center Nic Claxton.

If the Bulls’ center Nikola Vucevic can impose his will on Claxton early on and possibly get him into nasty trouble, it could open the paint and force Ben Simmons to play extended minutes as the Nets’ main infielder, which is not where he shines in on the defensive.

HEAD TO HEAD

The Bulls have won three of their last four meetings with the Nets, including the last game on November 1, winning 108-99 after holding Irving down to just four points.

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