The top two teams in the Eastern Conference are in for a heavyweight battle in Windy City this Thursday, as the Brooklyn Nets seek to score their first win against the Chicago Bulls this season. Will the Nets finally get that W at the expense of Chicago? Or, will the Bulls go 3-0 this season versus Brooklyn?
Catch this game live on Thursday, January 13, at 11 AM, Manila time.
Away: Brooklyn Nets (25-14/14-14 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: James Harden (questionable)
- SG: Kyrie Irving (questionable)
- SF: Kevin Durant
- PF: Blake Griffin
- C: Nic Claxton (DTD)
The Nets are in a rough stretch, having won just twice in their last seven games, dating back to late December. Missing James Harden due to a left knee problem last Tuesday, the Nets got upset by the banged-up Portland Trail Blazers in a 114-108 loss. As usual, Kevin Durant carried the bulk of the load for the Nets, scoring 27 points with 10 rebounds in the loss, while Kyrie Irving produced 22 points. Harden, however, is not expected to be out for long, so the Nets should be able to have their super trio out on the floor against the Bulls at United Center.
Irving, who’s only playing road games, hurt his ankle in the Blazers game, but it doesn’t seem he is in any danger of missing the meeting with Chicago. The Nets have struck out twice this season versus the Bulls, but the return of Irving changes the expectations people have of this matchup based on previous encounters. On the season, the Nets are seventh in the league with an average of 110.9 points per game and own an offense that is 11th in terms of effective field goal percentage (53.2%). Brooklyn is 6-6-1 ATS this season after a loss.
Home: Chicago Bulls (27-11/15-4 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Lonzo Ball
- SG: Zach LaVine
- SF: DeMar DeRozan
- PF: Derrick Jones Jr.
- C: Nikola Vucevic
The tandem of DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine has come up big in several games this season, including in Chicago’s two wins over Brooklyn. It has been a DeMar & Zach Show for the Bulls in those games, as DeRozan scored at least 28 points in each of the two games versus the Nets, while LaVine had 24 and 31 in the first and second meeting, respectively. Perhaps even more noteworthy is the impact of Chicago’s stout defense on the Nets’ scoring.
The Nets shot just 39.5 FG% against the Bulls in November and 41.4 FG% in the December rematch. And then there’s Nikola Vucevic, who could also dominate inside this Thursday, with the Nets seemingly thin in the frontcourt, especially if Nic Claxton ultimately gets ruled out. Vucevic played big in Wednesday’s 133-87 Chicago demolition of the Detroit Pistons, as he led the Bulls with 22 points on 10/18 shooting. The Bulls are 4-1 against the spread in their last four home games.
Spread: The Nets are too good to lose to any team three times this season. Taking the Nets to cover (+1) in Chicago.
Over/Under: There are a lot of elite scorers in this game, which could be all you need to know about why you should feel good betting the Over (227.5).