Chicago at Brooklyn
Time: 6:30 PM CT, NBA LP
Spread: BRK -7
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Brooklyn Nets are 27-24 and in the No. 6 position in the Eastern Conference Standings. It will host the 11-39 Chicago Bulls as 7-point favorites at 6:30 PM (CT) on NBA League Pass. NBA oddsmakers at 5dimes have set the over/under at 219 points for the affair.
The Brooklyn Nets have won seven of its last 10 games and currently trail No. 5 Boston by 4.5 games. The Nets are 15-11 at home this season and have a 19-13 mark against fellow Eastern Conference teams.
Most recently, the Nets had its six-game win streak snapped by the Boston Celtics with a 104-112 loss.
De’Angelo Russell scored 25 points on 10 of 20 shooting, but it was not enough as the Nets shot just 37.9 percent from the field as a team and committed 17 turnovers while also being outrebounded 52-48. Brooklyn has recently received superb play from Russell, who is looking more like the superstar he was billed to be when the L.A. Lakers drafted him out of Ohio State. Over his last 10 games, Russell has averaged 22.9 points, 6.5 assists, and 3.6 rebounds per game and the Nets have gone 7-3 over that span.
In the month of January, Russell has averaged 23.2 points and 7.2 assists per game in 13 games, markedly better than his 19 and six on the season. The 6’5” guard is thriving with Spencer Dinwiddie unavailable, as the pair before had (awkwardly) shared the playmaking responsibilities. With Dinwiddie entering free agency this summer, the Nets will have some choices to make with regards to its future 1-man for the rebuild, but this rebuild is bright.
The Nets are playoff contenders and now will be getting its draft picks back after surrendering several to the Boston Celtics as a result of the poorly planned trade that brought the Nets Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. While that trade did not work out, the Nets have been scrappy in assembling talents and are a force to be reckoned with already: With a top draft pick joining the fold, this team could reasonably be in the top-4 in the East as soon as next season.
The Bulls are just 6-19 on the road this season, and it recently lost all three games of its recent homestead to fall to 11-39 on the season. The Bulls are just 1.5 games better than cellar-dwelling Cleveland, and there is no hope of this team making the postseason this year.
The Bulls have struggled on both ends of the court. It averages just 101 points per game despite strong offensive games from Zach LaVine, who leads the team in scoring at 22.9 points per game. Lauri Markkanen has been good since returning from injury, and he has averaged 17.1 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.7 steals/blocks per game. Jabari Parker has been mostly a disappointment though, and Bobby Portis—thought to be promising—has missed most of the season.
The Bulls surrender 111 points per game and possess a -9.9 point differential while ranking near the bottom of the league in assists per game and boards per game. There are few bright spots on the roster, but Wendell Carter Jr has fulfilled some of his promise.
The rookie has averaged 10.3 points, seven boards and 1.32 blocks per game in his rookie season. The Bulls will have to re-tool and gain a defensive identity this offseason, but in the meantime, it does have a few promising pieces to work with in LaVine, Markkanen, and Carter Jr.
Chicago has lingered since trading Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves, and Butler has gone on to end up in Philadelphia. The team lost not only its leader but the only player close to resembling a superstar, notwithstanding that LaVine, at least, scores like one.