Game: Chicago Bulls @ Brooklyn Nets
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Odds: Bulls +1, Nets -1
The Chicago Bulls (26-28, 28-24-2) will visit the Brooklyn Nets (32-22 SU, 29-25 ATS) on Thursday as the hosts attempt to end a two-game losing streak. Brooklyn opened as a 3.5-point favorite, but the Bulls have won three of the last five in the series and it was just learned that the Nets traded Kevin Durant to the Phoenix Suns. That may have had something to do with the line adjustment.
The Bulls had won three in a row before losing to the Memphis Grizzlies 104-89 on Tuesday. Nikola Vucevic led Chicago with 28 points and 17 rebounds. Zach LaVine added 24 points and no other Bulls player had more than 14. Leading scorer DeMar DeRozan missed the game for Chicago due to a hip injury. He is listed as doubtful for tonight. The Bulls are a mediocre offensive team – 114.8 ppg, 12th in the NBA – with DeRozan. Against the Grizzlies, Chicago scored just 14 points in the first and third quarters.
Ironically, the Nets lost to the Suns 116-112 on Tuesday night. Phoenix won for the second consecutive game. Brooklyn had no answer for Deandre Ayton who had 35 points and 15 rebounds. The bright spot for the Nets was Cam Thomas who scored 43 points. No other Nets player scored more than 17. It was the third straight game in which Thomas scored at least 40 points. He is averaging just 10.4 points per game this season.
The Bulls’ offense has actually been quite strong in recent weeks. In their previous five games, which included Tuesday’s setback, they averaged more than 120 points per game. Increased output by Vucevic, who has scored 20 points or more in six of his previous eight games, has played a significant role in the Bulls’ recent offensive success.
On Thursday, the Nets will be bolstered by the addition of Spencer Dinwiddie and Dorian Finney-Smith, who were acquired from the Dallas Mavericks. Dinwiddie, who formerly played for Dallas and averaged 17.7 points and 34 minutes a game, will be counted on to provide the Nets a boost.
Thomas has been outstanding since the trade, but Brooklyn needs Dinwiddie and others to step up on a team that has traded both of its superstars – Durant and Kyrie Irving.
The UNDER is 8-1 in the last nine meetings between the Nets and Bulls. The last ten games in the series have averaged 222.9 points per game. The Under has hit in eight of the Bulls’ last ten games and in six of Chicago’s last seven games on the road. Chicago is 4-2 SU and ATS in its last six games. The Bulls are also 4-1 SU and ATS in the last five games against Brooklyn.
The Nets are 5-1 ATS in their last six games. Seven of their last eight games have gone Over the total, but the Under is 4-1 in the last five games played against Chicago at the Barclays Center.
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