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Last night, the Nets got a major monkey off their back, as they beat the Chicago Bulls in one of the best all-around games they've played all season.

Things looked pretty perilous before the game when the Nets ruled out Kevin Garnett due to back spasms, but Jason Kidd drew up an excellent game-plan against Joakim Noah on both ends of the court, and Brooklyn kept the Bulls' big man in check.

Starting in KG's place was rookie Mason Plumlee. He didn't particularly light up the stat sheet, (3-of-3 from the field, four rebounds) but he played extremely well against Noah, getting the better of the All-Star on multiple occasions, including this one.

After the game, Plumlee talked about how big a win it was for the Nets to beat this red-hot Bulls team, and how Garnett helped him prepare for his matchup with Noah.

[sny-box]"The Bulls, they don't just give away games. They show up every night, they always play hard, so if you beat them, you know you beat them. They didn't take the night off, they're not that kind of team. We earned it tonight. [...] I just watched film. Kevin's played against [Noah] so much, even though he didn't play tonight, he was at shoot-around, he kind of took me through his tendencies."[/sny-box]

It was excellent all-around team effort by the Nets, who gave the Bulls a little taste of their own medicine, exploiting mismatches on both ends of the court to hold Chicago to just 80 points, winning their fifth straight home game.

Plumlee's performance was simply tremendous, considering the circumstances. For a guy who's had inconsistent playing time over the course of his rookie season, Plumlee always seems prepared and ready to go when his number is called.

The Bulls have been one of the hottest teams in the NBA, and they've certainly been a thorn in the Nets' side of late. Getting this win was no small feat, and neither was reaching the .500 mark after they had bottomed out at 11 games at their lowest point.

There have been days when Plumlee hasn't cracked Jason Kidd's game-day rotation, either because of matchups or because of the Nets' depth, or some combination of both. But Monday night, Kidd called Plumlee's number, and Plumlee stepped up.

Tags: NBA, nets, Brooklyn Nets, Nets, mason plumlee
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