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A pair of Eastern Conference teams looking to move up in the playoff picture take the floor in the Windy City. The Brooklyn Nets are on the road as they make the trip to face the Chicago Bulls Sunday afternoon. Brooklyn defeated Memphis 109-100 on the road Friday night in their last contest. Chicago comes in off a 119-116 overtime loss at home to the Pacers Friday night in their previous game. The Bulls lead the all-time regular season series 92-75 but it was the Nets taking the last four meetings, including a 96-93 win here in the first matchup on December 19, 2018.
Brooklyn Nets Seeking 12th Win in Last 15 Games
Brooklyn won their second straight and their 11th in the last 14 games as they took care of business on the road against the Grizzlies. With the win, the Nets moved into the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference by percentage points over the Pistons entering Saturday’s action. Brooklyn was up one at the half and by four after three quarters before pulling away in the fourth quarter to get the victory over a slumping Memphis team. The Nets shot 45.6 percent from the field, including 13 of 34 from three point range, and overcame turning the ball over 20 times. D’Angelo Russell led the way with 23 points and 10 assists in the win. Brooklyn is 11-8 ATS on the road this season while the under is 11-8 in those games.
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) January 5, 2019
The Nets are 16th in the league in scoring offense with 111 points per game. Brooklyn is 16th in the league on the glass by collecting 45.1 rebounds per game. The Nets are 19th in the league in assists with 23.6 dimes per contest. Brooklyn is 21st in the league in scoring defense as they allow 111.7 points a game. Caris LeVert leads the team with 18.4 points per game in the first third of the season. Spencer Dinwiddie (17.4 points, 5.2 assists), Joe Harris (13.8 points), Jarrett Allen (11.6 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.42 blocks) and D’Angelo Russell (18.2 points, 6.4 assists) are all averaging in double figures for coach Kenny Atkinson. Rodions Kurucs, Kenneth Faried, Allen Crabbe, Ed Davis, Jared Dudley, Shabazz Napier and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson are all important pieces of the rotation for Brooklyn. The Nets are tied for 18th in the league by shooting 45.4 percent from the floor. Brooklyn is 4th in the league by sinking 12.3 triples per contest. The Nets are 7th in the league in three point shooting as they shoot 36.4 percent from long range. LeVert dislocated his foot and suffered moderate ligament damage against the Timberwolves November 12 and is out indefinitely though he is expected to return this season.
Chicago Bulls Shoot to Square Season Series
Chicago suffered their third straight loss as they were clipped in overtime by the Pacers in a Central Division showdown. The Bulls entered Saturday 13th in the Eastern Conference, 8.5 games behind the Nets for the final playoff spot. Chicago was up 12 after the opening quarter but couldn’t maintain that edge. In the extra session, the game was tied in the closing seconds when the Bulls gave up the game winning three with 0.3 seconds to play. Chicago shot 51.6 percent from the field, including 12 of 28 from three point range, but was hurt by 18 turnovers. The Bulls also allowed Indiana to shoot 52.7 percent from the floor. Zach LaVine led the team with 31 points in the loss: he hit a shot that would have tied the game and forced double overtime, but it came after the buzzer. Chicago is 10-10 ATS at home this season while the under is 13-6-1 in those games.
What a thriller. @ZachLaVine almost had another clutch 3 sending the game on to 2OT 😮
Zach’s game stats against the Pacers:
31pts / 5reb / 3ast / 2stl pic.twitter.com/I0NUgWvtUS
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) January 5, 2019
The Bulls are 30th in the league in scoring offense this season with 100.4 points per game. Chicago is 27th in the league in rebounding with 41.5 boards a night while ranking 26th with 21.6 assists per contest. The Bulls are average defensively as they are 14th by allowing 109.6 points per contest. Zach LaVine leads the team with 23.5 points per game so far this year. Jabari Parker (14.9 points, 6.8 rebounds), Kris Dunn (13.7 points, 6.8 assists) and Bobby Portis (11.9 points, eight boards) are off to solid starts. The Bulls need production from Wendell Carter Jr. (10.5 points, 6.9 rebounds), Robin Lopez, Wayne Selden Jr., MarShon Brooks, Cristiano Felicio, Antonio Blakeney and Ryan Arcidiacono. Denzel Valentine was diagnosed with ankle instability and underwent surgery: he is out for the season without playing a game. Lauri Markkanen (17.6 points, 7.5 rebounds) made his season debut on December 1 against the Rockets after being out with an elbow injury. Chicago is 26th in the league in field goal percentage as they shoot 44.4 percent from the floor. The Bulls are tied for 27th in the league with 9.3 three pointers a game and stand tied for 21st by shooting 34.5 percent from beyond the arc. Portis is out until mid-January at best with an ankle injury while Parker is questionable with an illness.
- Bulls are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 home games vs. a team with a losing road record.
- Bulls are 3-13 ATS in their last 16 vs. Atlantic Division teams
- Nets are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 road games vs. a team with a losing home record
- Nets are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games vs. a team with a losing straight up record
- Nets are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Brooklyn has been playing good basketball over the last few weeks as they are pushing back into the playoff picture. The Nets have won 11 of their last 14 games and have momentum on their side. Chicago continues to struggle as they don’t have the pieces to contend at this point in time. The Bulls are at home for this one but they already fell to Brooklyn here this season. You have to back the Nets in this one as they maintain their recent momentum.
Prediction: Brooklyn Nets -2
Full-Game Total Pick
Brooklyn is trying to keep rolling along as they play on the road here. The Nets have found ways to win despite missing key pieces in their rotation. LeVert is still out until likely mid-February, while Crabbe is out indefinitely and Hollis-Jefferson is out until at least mid-January with an adductor strain. Brooklyn is trying to get by with secondary and tertiary options right now but it’s working. Chicago has struggled and their lack of offensive firepower has cost them repeatedly this season. Can the Bulls find a way to come up with the victory in this contest?
The under is 5-0 in the Nets’ last 5 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of less than .400, 8-0 in their last 8 road games vs. a team with a losing home record and 6-1 in Nets last 7 vs. a team with a losing straight up record. Chicago has seen the under go 5-0 in their last five against the Atlantic Division, 7-1 in their last 8 vs. a team with a losing straight up record, 8-2-1 in their last 11 home games vs. a team with a losing road record and 20-5-1 in their last 26 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game. The under is 4-0 in the last four meetings in Chicago and 7-1 in the last eight overall. Look for this one to fall under the number as the Bulls struggle to put points on the board.
Prediction: Under 208
Full-Game Prop Bet
Russell has been effective in all facets of the game lately, not just putting points on the board. In his last nine games, he’s averaged 20.2 points, 4.1 rebounds and 7.7 assists per game. Russell has back to back double digit assist games coming into this one and with the Bulls lacking much of a defensive presence, you have to like his chances for another. He goes over the number here.
Prediction: D’Angelo Russell Total Rebounds+Assists Over 11.5
Half-Time Side Pick
Brooklyn is on a roll right now and they have plenty of momentum going for them. The Nets have battled through injuries and have moved to within two games of the .500 mark on the year. Chicago has sputtered and the deal that sent Holiday to Memphis took one of their veteran pieces that can contribute out of the mix. The Bulls don’t have the pieces to threaten most teams on a nightly basis. In this one, Brooklyn, knowing that they hold a playoff spot, takes the edge at the half here.
Prediction: Brooklyn Nets -0.5
Half-Time Total Bet
We’ve seen some low scoring games when either of these teams take the floor. Brooklyn won the first game between these teams by three points in a game where neither side cracked the century mark. The Nets have been improving on the defensive end of the floor: they held a 48-47 edge at the half against Memphis Friday night. Chicago had 58 points in the first half against Indiana but put up just 47 in the second half, then added 11 in overtime. This one, based on the first matchup this season, likely falls under the number at the half.
Prediction: Under 100
Half-Time Prop Prediction
Chicago’s defense hasn’t been overly impressive this season and that’s proved to be a problem. The Nets are playing solid offensively and they’ve been hot of late. The Bulls have to prove that they can actually make some stops on the defensive end of the floor in order to be taken seriously. Boylen has taken some of the air out of the ball it seems for Chicago to try and limit possessions but that doesn’t pay dividends. Brooklyn squeezes past the number here.
Prediction: Brooklyn Nets Over 50.5 (-115)