What to Watch For: Chicago Bulls vs. Brooklyn Nets

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Apr 20, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose (1) and Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler (21) react after the game against the Milwaukee Bucks in game two of the first round of the 2015 NBA Playoffs at the United Center. The Chicago Bulls defeat the Milwaukee Bucks 92-81. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

How will Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler look?

It was a rough shooting day for the Bulls star-studded back court to say the least. Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler combined for a dismal 14-36 shooting (38.9 percent) from the field and missed all four attempts from behind the arc. If you only look at their shooting then you would assume it was a rough game for them, but it wasn’t as bad as it sounds. Despite their shots not falling, Butler was still able to score 17, while Rose chipped in with 18.

On defense, Butler was as good as always. He had two steals and a block, including swatting away an inbound pass on the last play of the game to seal the game for the Bulls. He was on LeBron James all night and even though James scored 25 points, Butler did a good job forcing him to make tough jump shots and limited his ability to get to the basket. The fact of the matter is that you can’t stop James, but Butler is one of the best in the game at controlling him.

The faster pace of play yesterday was due to Derrick Rose being able to start for Chicago, even if he was suffering from double vision. He was able to run the floor and decide whether to pass it, take a jump shot or drive to the basket. Rose was only 8-for-22 from the field, but his ability to get to the basket and not settle for jump shots is a great sign. His shot wasn’t falling when getting to the basket and he wasn’t getting calls that he might get later in the year. Either way, there is still explosiveness in Rose despite all the leg injuries and if he can stay healthy it will only get better.

Butler and Rose should shoot better tonight against the lowly Nets. Kyrie Irving may have been out for the Cavaliers, but Mo Williams played a lot better than expected and J.R. Smith is a solid player; not to mention who Cleveland has in their front court to guard the basket down low.

The Nets have nearly no depth at all and Jarrett Jack, Joe Johnson and Bojan Bogdanovic are nowhere near the talent level that the Bulls All-Star back court is at. Their legs should be a little tired from a tough game last night but if they’re able to get to the basket, Brook Lopez is the only real threat down low, as Thaddeus Young plays more like a small forward than power forward.

Rose and Butler didn’t play terribly last night, but Chicago knows they can be a lot better and this is a game that could get them going. The Nets aren’t suppose to be good this year and they should have a field day against them, especially if they get time against their backups.

Next: Does Bobby Portis make his debut?