New Orleans Pelicans (16-24 SU, 20-20 ATS, 18-22 O/U) vs. Chicago Bulls (19-21 SU, 19-21 ATS, 14-25-1 O/U)
NBA: Saturday, January 14, 2017, United Center, Chicago, Illinois, 5 pm ET
Line: Chicago -2; Over/Under: 205
An inter-conference matchup of teams battling to improve their playoff chances takes place in the Windy City. The New Orleans Pelicans are on the road as they take on the Chicago Bulls Saturday night. New Orleans won their second straight to improve to 2-1 on their five game trip by beating the Nets 104-95 on Thursday night. Chicago lost their third straight game as they were defeated 104-89 at the Knicks Thursday night. The Bulls have a 20-12 edge in the all-time regular season series, including a 121-116 road win in the most recent matchup on April 11, 2016.
New Orleans Pelicans Go for Third Straight Road Win
New Orleans, even playing without superstar big man Anthony Davis, managed to pick up a road win over the lowly Nets. The Pelicans trailed by six at the half and that deficit carried into the fourth quarter. New Orleans outscored Brooklyn by a 31-16 margin in the fourth to pick up the win and deal Brooklyn an eighth straight loss. The Pelicans shot just 42.2 percent from the field and 11 of 32 from three point range yet prevailed, mainly due to Brooklyn’s insistence on shooting from the perimeter. The Nets hit only 9 of 42 three point attempts in the game. Tyreke Evans had 29 points, four rebounds, three assists and four steals off the bench to lead the Pelicans.
The Pelicans are 21st in the league in scoring offense with 102.4 points per game. The Pelicans are 8th in rebounding with 44.6 boards per game while ranking 11th with 22.7 assists per contest. New Orleans is 19th in scoring defense as they give up 105.1 points per contest. Anthony Davis is second in the league in scoring with 29.1 points to go with 12.2 rebounds, 1.38 steals and second with 2.51 blocks per game. The problem is that the support isn’t really there. E’Twaun Moore contributes with 9.6 points a night while Tim Frazier contributes 9.9 points plus 6.7 assists per contest. Rookie Buddy Hield (9.1 points), Terrence Jones (10.7 points, 5.8 boards), Langston Galloway, Tyreke Evans, Dante Cunningham, Solomon Hill and Alexis Ajinca have to contribute when they are on the floor. Jrue Holiday (14.5 points, seven assists) has helped New Orleans on offense but relegated Hield to more of an afterthought in the rotation. New Orleans is 24th in field goal percentage shooting 43.8 percent from the floor. The Pelicans are tied for 15th with 9.2 made threes per game and stand 18th in the league by converting 35.3 percent from long range this season.
Chicago Bulls Try to Avoid Fourth Straight Defeat
Chicago has dropped three straight games and fell back under the .500 mark with a loss to the struggling Knicks. The Bulls were shorthanded as Nikola Mirotic and Jimmy Butler were both sent home before the contest. Chicago and their makeshift rotation ended up shooting 39.8 percent from the field in the contest while misfiring on 15 of 18 three point attempts. The Bulls allowed the Knicks to hit 47.8 percent from the floor in the contest. Chicago was within three at the half but was outscored 22-14 in the third quarter and couldn’t recover. Dwyane Wade had 22 points in the loss to lead the Bulls.
The Bulls come into this contest 23rd in the league with 101.2 points per game this season. Chicago is 1st in the league in rebounding with 47.3 boards per contest. The Bulls are 22nd in the league in assists with 21 dimes per game. Chicago is 6th in scoring defense as they allow 101.4 points a night. Jimmy Butler leads the team with 25 points plus 6.7 rebounds per game. Dwyane Wade averages 18.8 points plus 4.1 rebounds per game. Taj Gibson chips in 11.8 points plus 7.1 boards a night, Doug McDermott averages 9.7 points per game and Nikola Mirotic contributes 9.5 points plus 5.5 rebounds per game. Robin Lopez (9.1 points, 7.1 rebounds), Michael Carter-Williams, Rajon Rondo and Bobby Portis all are key pieces for coach Fred Hoiberg. Chicago is tied for 28th in field goal percentage by shooting 43.2 percent from the floor. The Bulls are last in the league by splashing 6.5 threes per game and is last in the league by shooting 31.4 percent from beyond the arc.
- Pelicans are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win
- Pelicans are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game
- Pelicans are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games vs. a team with a losing straight up record
- Bulls are 2-9 ATS in their last 11 home games vs. a team with a losing road record
- Bulls are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 vs. Western Conference
- Bulls are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games vs. a team with a losing straight up record
The Pelicans found a way to win without their star player as Evans had a massive game off the bench. Chicago has hit the skids as they were minus Butler and Mirotic, plus Wade was rested for one of the games in that stretch. The Bulls aren’t sure who they will have on the floor in this one and that takes a toll. Mirotic is out while Butler and Valentine are questionable. The Pelicans, even playing on the road, have more momentum and that leads them to a victory here.
Pick: New Orleans Pelicans
This one is more a battle of attrition than anything else when you consider the talent that is either out or questionable to even suit up, much less play to their normal numbers. Davis is a question mark for the Pelicans after missing Thursday’s game with a hip bruise sustained against the Knicks earlier this week. The Bulls are minus Mirotic in this one for certain while Butler is a game-time decision with an illness. Both were sent home during the team’s road trip earlier this week.
The Pelicans have gone under the total in their last four after a straight up win and in their last five after an ATS win. In addition, New Orleans has seen the under hit in its last six after scoring at least 100 points and in six of their last seven overall. Chicago has gone under in their last four after giving up at least 100 points, in seven of their last eight at home against teams with a losing road record and in four of their last five overall. With so many question marks about who will play in the game, you have to lean toward the under.