NBA on TNT Odds: Los Angeles Clippers at Chicago Bulls

JJ Redick dropped six trifectas against the Milwaukee Bucks Wed. night.
JJ Redick dropped six trifectas against the Milwaukee Bucks Wed. night.

Los Angeles Clippers at Chicago Bulls
Time: 7 PM CT (TNT)
Spread: LAC -1.5
Total: 202

Betting odds c/o Bovada

The free fall continues for Derrick Rose and the once proud Chicago Bulls, who now have lost three straight and are a humble 11-8 on the season after winning 50 games a season ago. NBA oddsmakers expect Fred Holberg’s club to continue its descent with the visiting Los Angeles Clippers favored by 1.5 points at the United Center on TNT tonight.

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The Bulls most recent ‘L’ came at the hands of the Boston Celtics, 105-100. Despite 36 points from swingman Jimmy Butler, the Bulls were outscored by eight in the second half as the Celtics overcame a three-point deficit at the half. The C’s put eight players in double figures, led by point guard Isaiah Thomas who had an off shooting night going 5 of 15 but had just two turnovers and the Celtics had just 12 in the game.

Chicago meanwhile turned it over 16 times and the Bulls bench hit just 11 of 28 in the game. Chicago as a team shot just 27 of 67 from a team outside of Butler’s heroic night. The Bulls will need more than Butler if it is to knock off the Clippers, as L.A. is finally starting to gather steam as winners of its past three contests.

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The Clips most recent triumph came in a 109-95 rout of the struggling Milwaukee Bucks just last night. Chris Paul and J.J. Redick are both back in action, and the Clippers starting backcourt is back at it again. Redick hit 11 of 18 from the floor for 31 points, while knocking down half a dozen triples and Paul dropped 18 assists to go with his 18 points.

Every starting Clipper except Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (15 minutes) finished with a plus/minus over 20 for the game. Blake Griffin was able to play a more relaxed role and it seemed to suit the All-Star quite well, as he scored 21 points to go with 14 rebounds and four assists. Griffin was coming off a night against Minnesota prior in which he was just 7 of 17 from the floor for 16 points, but the Clippers won that affair too.

With a healthy CP3 and Redick back in the fold, Jamal Crawford is able to return to his sixth man role, a place he has thrived as a Sixth Man of the Year already. He is not an efficient scorer, but he is capable of getting red hot and filling it up.

Griffin is posting a team-high PER of 25.8, and he is close to five assists per game, a figure he topped last season in showing more versatility and playmaking than he had earlier in his career. The Oklahoma product is becoming a very complete player, even with unfounded criticisms that he is still unable to hit a mid-range jumper (this a “casual” fan’s most common criticism).

The Clippers may be weary from having played the night before, but the Bulls are really not looking like the same team this year from Rose to Pau Gasol. Butler is not enough to knock off a talented Clippers team by himself as he tried to do the Boston Celtics. NBA oddsmakers may only favor the Clips by a 1.5 point margin, but that seems to place a little too much hope in a Bulls team that may be soon in a complete free fall.

For all that was said about former HC Tom Thibodeau and his demand of players, it may be that Hoiberg is the polar opposite and not quite demanding enough.  Chicago is playing without a lot of structure and chemistry, which is pretty surprising for a team that has been mostly the same for the past few seasons.

Gasol has already stated he is unlikely to return next season, but the real issue for Chicago will be the matter of how to rebuild with Derrick Rose still on a super-max deal through 2017-18.  The Bulls are unwillingly going to be trapped into mediocrity due to the ACL of what was once the NBA’s youngest MVP in league history.

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