Chicago Bulls vs. New York Knicks Preview
Where: Madison Square Garden — New York, NY
When: Thursday, January 12, 2017 – 7:30 PM ET
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Betting on the Chicago Bulls (19-20)
The Bulls have had a rough couple of days. After getting dominated by OKC on Monday, 109-94, with three Thunder players pouring 20 or more points, they got blasted by John Wall and his Wizards on Tuesday. The All-Star guard punished the defense for 26 points and 14 assists, lifting his team for a victory, 101-99.
It doesn’t end with those Ls, too. Jimmy Butler (illness), who sat out the Wizards game, is expected to also miss the upcoming game. With the sixth-year veteran contributing 25 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game, the already-stagnant offense of the Bulls (101.5 PPG, 23rd overall) is bound take another hit.
In his absence, expect the returning Dwyane Wade (rest) to shoulder more of the scoring duties, although the other guards, Doug McDermott (10 PPG) and Michael Carter-Williams (10 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 3 APG in his last five games), should get extra touches too. Wade will be bringing season averages of 18.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 3.9 assists.
Rajon Rondo (7.4 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 7.1 APG), who has risen from the ashes of the bench, may have fantasy-friendly game with no Butler taking ball-handling opportunities away from him.
The battle of the boards, meanwhile, should be won by Chicago. They lead the league in rebounds (47.5) and offensive rebounds (13.6) per game.
The Bulls are 1-7 in their last eight games on the road (2-6 ATS).
Betting on the New York Knicks (17-22)
The Knicks simply can’t make the bleeding stop. They even let Philly put some salt in the wound, as the Sixers beat them, 98-97, thanks to a 15-4 run in the final few minutes, which included a TJ McConnell jumper as regulation ended. With the loss, they have now dropped 12 of their last 15 games. It’s also their second loss this week courtesy of a buzzer-beater.
Thursday will be the second game of a back-to-back, and we may see them take another defeat if they don’t make the necessary adjustments, especially Kristaps Porzingis, who’s only 6-for-23 in his last two (8.0 PPG). As a stretch four, it’ll be interesting if he can help keeping the big bodies of the Bulls (Robin Lopez and Taj Gibson) out of the paint.
Should Porzingis fail to get out of his current struggles, expect Carmelo Anthony (22.1 PPG) and Derrick Rose (17.5 PPG) to be the 1A and 1B for the team in scoring.
If you want to stay positive for the Knicks despite the string of losses (3-12 SU and 7-8 ATS in their last 15), remember that they pounded the Bulls in their meeting last November, 117-104, with all five starters scoring 15 or more points. It was also the Knicks’ second-best shooting night this season (51.7 percent).
The Knicks (-3.5) win a close one, 100-98.
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