L.A. Lakers (18-4 10-12 ATS) vs., Chicago Bulls (8-14 5-14-1 ATS) United Center, Chicago, IL 8 PM EST Tuesday December 15, 2009 on WGNAmerica
by Jason Green at Predictem.com
Point Spread: Lakers -10.5 / Bulls +10.5
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Tonight in the Windy City the struggling Chicago Bulls host the L.A. Lakers. The Bulls are coming off a loss and are 2-8 in their last 10 games. They are 6 games under .500 and trail the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Central Division by 10 games. Even though the Lakers lost their last game, which snapped their 11 game winning streak, they are 9-1 in their last 10 and they lead the Pacific Division by 3 games over the Phoenix Suns. The Lakers currently have the best record in the Western Conference (18-4).
The last couple games have not been kind to Kobe Bryant, as he broke his index finger in the Lakers last home game and he had a stomach bug and only scored 16 points on 7/24 shooting in their loss to the Utah Jazz on Saturday.
This is not a good match up for the Bulls, as they lack any real inside presence, are 2/12 in their last 10 games, and face a Lakers team that is 10-0 this season against sub-.500 teams.
The Bulls are struggling on both ends of the court, as in their last 5 losses they are only averaging 85.8 ppg and the average margin in those 5 losses is 21.8 ppg. At least the Bulls will be home tonight, but the odds are stacked against them, as you can see by the 10-5 point spread.
This season the Bulls are 6-4 at home and the Lakers are 3-2 on the road.
The Lakers have won their last 5 games against the Bulls including their last 2 in Chicago.
In their last loss on Saturday the Bulls were crushed by the Boston Celtics 106-80. The high scorer for the Bulls in that game was Derrick Rose going for 19 points on 8/19 shooting. For the game the Bulls were ice cold shooting only 30/92 from the field for a weak FG% of 32.6%. On defense the Bulls allowed the Celtics to shoot 38/88 from the floor for a FG% of 43.2%.
The Lakers lost their first game of their current road trip on Saturday to the Utah Jazz 102-94. The high scorers for the Lakers in that game were Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Ron Artest, who all went for 16 points. For the game the Lakers shot 37/80 for a FG% of 46.3%. On defense the usually solid Lakers took the night off allowing the Jazz to shoot 40/77 for a FG% of 51.9%.
This season the Lakers rank 7th in scoring (103.9 ppg) while the Bulls only rank 28th (90.4 ppg). On defense the Lakers rank 6th in points allowed (95.5 ppg) and the Bulls rank 15th (99 ppg). The Lakers are a better team on the boards, as they have a rebounding differential of +1.2 rpg while the Bulls are at -0.7 rpg.
Since the Bulls lack much inside defense Pau Gasol (17.6 ppg 11.5 rpg) and Andrew Bynum (17.4 ppg 9.1 rpg) should dominate the lane on both ends of the court.
Bynum and Gasol will be able to control the glass tonight even though the Bulls do have Joakim Noah, who is 4th in the NBA in rebounds per game (11.8 rpg).
Bulls F Luol Deng (17.5 ppg) is the leading scorer of the Bulls, but don’t look for him to have a big scoring night since he will be guarded by defensive ace Ron Artest.
Kobe should rebound from the bad game he had at Utah, as he should be healthy and he rarely has back-to-back poor games.
Derrick Rose (16.1 ppg) gets a lot of his hoops by penetrating into the lane, but he will struggle tonight, as the Lakers have solid perimeter defense and if he does get into the lane he will have a couple 7-footers waiting for him with Bynum and Gasol.
The Bulls could put some pressure on the Lakers if they can hit the 3-pointer tonight, but don’t look for that to happen since the Bulls are one of the worst 3-pt shooting teams only hitting on 29.5% of shots from downtown.
On the injury front SG Kobe Bryant is day-to-day for the Lakers and G Kirk Hinrich is day-to-day and PF Tyrus Thomas is Out for the Bulls.
Jason’s Pick: The Lakers simply have too much inside game and too many weapons for the Bulls to deal with. The Bulls are at home, but that really won’t matter, as they are out-matched on both ends of the floor. The Lakers are not a great ATS team this season and I think that trend will continue tonight, as they will win this game, but not cover the spread. Take the Bulls and the points.