Chicago Bulls (6-4 4-5-1 ATS) vs. L.A. Lakers (8-3 4-7 ATS) Staples Center Los Angeles CA, 10:30 PM EST Thursday November 19, 2009 on TNT
by Jason Green at Predictem.com
Point Spread: Bulls +10 / Lakers -10
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Tonight in La La Land the L.A. Lakers host the Chicago Bulls. The big news in this game is that the Lakers will finally get F/C Pau Gasol back, as the 7-footer has not played this season because of an injured hamstring. He will give the Lakers yet another scoring option. The Lakers were in a mini-slump on the offensive end of the court, but that all changed in their last game, as Kobe Bryant scored 40 and the Lakers dropped 109 on the Detroit Pistons. The Lakers’ offense will be tested tonight against a solid Chicago defense. The Bulls have won 2 straight including their last one in Sacramento, which was the beginning of a long road trip. This season the Lakers are in 2nd place in the Pacific Division trailing the Phoenix Suns by 1.5 games and the Bulls are in 3rd place in the Central Division trailing the Cleveland Cavaliers by only 1 game.
This season the Lakers are 6-2 at home and the Bulls are only 2-3 in road games.
In their last game the Bulls beat the Sacramento Kings 101-87 on Tuesday night. The high scorer for the Bulls in that game was John Salmons going for 23 points on 9/18 shooting. For the game the Bulls shot well going 39/83 for a FG% of 47%. On D the Bulls were solid holding the Kings to 35/81 for a FG% of 43.2%.
On Tuesday night the Lakers beat the Detroit Pistons 109-93. Kobe was the high scorer in the game going for 40 points on 17/29 shooting. For the game the Lakers shot 42/89 for a FG% of 47.2%. On defense the Lakers allowed the Pistons to shoot 34/72 for a FG% of 47.2.
This season the Lakers rank 9th in scoring (101.5 ppg) while the Bulls have struggled on offense this season ranking 27th (90.4). The reason the Bulls are over .500 is their defense, which ranks 4th in points allowed (91.8 ppg) while the Lakers have a mediocre defense ranking 14th (98.5 ppg). The Bulls are a better team on the boards, but not by much, as they have a rebounding differential of +1.3 rpg and the Lakers are at -1.3 rpg.
The Bulls have great perimeter D, but their inside defense is mediocre at best. They will have to play good defense in the paint against Andrew Bynum (20.3 ppg) and Pau Gasol. Even though the Bulls beat the Kings in their last game Sacramento scored 56 of their 87 points in the paint.
Even though the Bulls have a better rebounding differential they now have to deal with Gasol and Bynum on the glass. Joakim Noah (12.1 rpg) leads the league in rebounds per game, but he will need some help on the glass tonight.
The Bulls are one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the league (29.4% 3-pt FG%) and they may have to hit the long ball tonight so the Lakers do not pack the lane to keep the Bulls from penetrating.
Kobe will get his points tonight, but the Bulls have to play solid D on Lamar Odom (9.9 ppg), Bynum (20.3 ppg), Ron Artest (11.7 ppg) and Gasol (18.9 ppg last season) from having big scoring games.
Since the Bulls do not have a high scoring offense they have to rely on their defense tonight and if this game becomes a high-scoring one the Bulls will be in trouble.
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Lakers’ C Andrew Bynum has a couple inches and over 50 pounds on Bulls’ C Joakim Noah and Noah will need help not only keeping him off the boards but from scoring easy buckets inside as well.
Ron Artest is the Lakers’ defensive stopper and if he keeps Bulls’ leading scorer Luol Deng (17.4 ppg) from scoring the Lakers will be in good shape since the Bulls do not have many scoring options.
Since a guy named Michael Jordan retired form the Bulls Chicago is only 9-56 in L.A.
On the injury front C Aaron Gray is Out for the Bulls and F/C Pau Gasol, and G Kobe Bryant are day-to-day and F Luke Walton is Out for the Lakers.
Jason’s Pick: This is not a good match up for the Bulls since they do not have a lot of size and the Lakers have a couple of 7-footers in Bynum and Gasol. The Lakers have not been great ATS this season, but they will easily win this game and cover the spread winning their 2nd straight game.