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Follow the Nets' return to New York with Newsday's Rod Boone.

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Nets looking for that elite win

Joe Johnson #7 and Deron Williams #8 look

Joe Johnson #7 and Deron Williams #8 look on from the bench late in a game against the Miami Heat at Barclays Center. (Jan. 30, 2013) (Credit: Jim McIsaac)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- They don't want this losing thing to become a trend.

That's why the Nets feel Friday's matchup with the Bulls at the Barclays Center is the ultimate bounce back game after the way they were throttled by 20 points in Wednesday's nationally-televised loss to the Heat.

"This is big tonight," Joe Johnson said before the team's shootaround at the PNY Center. "We don’t want to take too many steps back, man. I thought we took a step back against Miami and we need to take a couple of steps forward."

A win over one of the league's top teams would do wonders for the Nets' psyche. They're 10-19 against teams with .500 or better records and a perfect 17-0 versus the sub-.500 teams. 

"We definitely need a win bad, not only because they are a great team, but we just need a win, period," Reggie Evans said, "because you don't want to go back and forth with wins and losses. You definitely want to stay consistent. You definitely want to get some elite wins against some elite teams.

"So just for our own pride and our own self motivation, not to prove a point around the league, but we need to prove to ourselves that we can play with elite teams."

Deron Williams can't put his finger on why the Nets have dropped three of their last four, all by double digits.

"I don’t know why we are losing so badly in these losses," Williams said. "It just seems like last game, in the third quarter, nothing went right or us, everything went right for them. And they kind of blew us out of the game."

P.J. Carlesimo wants the Nets to turn it around, starting with the Bulls -- a team they've already lost to once this season.

"Right now, we are just not playing very well," the interim coach said. "So we just need to win, period. It just happens that it'’s the Bulls coming in right now, so it’s going to be a little more difficult than it is against another team. But that's the whole thing we've said from the beginning -- to become a consistent team and to handle the ups and downs. Right now, we are certainly not up.

"So we’ve got to bounce back, A. B, it happens to be a good team coming in here. We’ve beaten some good teams. The problem isn't beating good teams. The problem is us. We’ve got to play a lot better than we played the other night. If we play the way we played in the first half, then we can beat people. But the game is not 24 minutes, so we have to come out and play really, really well."

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