The Chicago Bulls travel to Brooklyn as betting underdogs to face the Nets following the departure of Head Coach Steve Nash.
Our 3-4 Chicago Bulls head to the east coast for the first night of a back-to-back against the 2-5 Brooklyn Nets. Looking to bounce back from two consecutive losses, the Bulls will have to wade through a bizarre situation when they play the Nets tonight.
Today’s news aside, Brooklyn has already become a lightning rod for the media, and I won’t dive into the current narratives and backlash surrounding Kyrie Irving, but given the 2-5 record, it is tough to deny that the ongoing situation is not a distraction.
Factor in today’s news of Steve Nash’s departure, along with news of Ime Udoka potentially moving from his suspension in Boston to this head coaching vacancy, and you have a massively uncertain situation.
I do have some faith in the Bulls tonight on the spread or moneyline, but you just don’t know how this Nets team will respond to the coaching change. While everything going on here is incredibly distracting, certain teams respond better to coaching changes than others. Nonetheless, I’ve got a best bet today that is looking to get us back in the win column and get us to a nice 6-2 start to the season! Best of luck and GO BULLS!!
2022 Bulls Best Bet Record: 5-2
Zach LaVine Over 23.5 Points (Sportsbook odds may vary)
The Chicago Bulls enter Tuesday’s game with a handful of injury designations to note, including the pick of the day, Zach LaVine. In his case, reports indicate that he is probable to play tonight and may sit tomorrow, as the team continues to tread lightly in his progression from his knee injury. It appears they will continue to split his time when back-to-backs arrive on the schedule.
Beyond LaVine, the Bulls list Andre Drummond out, with Coby White and Ayo Dosunmu listed as questionable. Ben Simmons and Seth Curry have been ruled out for Brooklyn. According to reports, Ayo Dosunmu returned to practice Monday, giving some optimism that he may suit up.
Regardless of the injury designations, and the circus that is surrounding Brooklyn, this Chicago Bulls squad should see plenty of scoring opportunities against a bad Nets defensive unit. Entering tonight’s game, Brooklyn ranks 25th in effective shooting percentage and 29th in defensive efficiency. An absent Ben Simmons also removes an element of their defensive size and length that might have otherwise caused issues for the Bulls.
Brooklyn’s defense has been especially susceptible to opposing star players, and in most cases their opposing team’s top two scorers. Through seven games, the leading individual scorer in each game for Brooklyn’s opposition has an average of 35.6 points per game scored, with four of their seven games having seen an opposing player score at least 37 points. Brandon Ingram’s 28 points on opening night is the only case of a Brooklyn opposing player posting an individual team high below 30 points.
Demar Derozan currently stands as the Chicago Bulls leading scorer at 25.9 points per game, but that number dips to 19.75 over four games with LaVine in the lineup. If the trend continues with LaVine seeing equal opportunities, or even a higher volume of opportunities than Demar within games in which they both play, you can expect this to be a huge night for LaVine, and potentially his first 30 point night of the season.
This isn’t to suggest that Derozan can’t also have a great night, as I mentioned Brooklyn has given up a ton of points to not only one big point scorer in every game, but has seen a few games with two monster performances.
Last Monday, in Brooklyn’s 134-124 loss to Memphis both Ja Morant and Desmond Bane tallied 38 points each. LaVine and Derozan obviously have their differences to those two, but you could absolutely convince me that the Bulls duo could both be in for a huge night.
The biggest difference to that duo, and why I like LaVine to have a better night than Derozan, is the three point defense of Brooklyn. The Nets rank 27th in three point percentage, and with Derozan’s lack of volume, you would feel better that Zach might be a better candidate to pour in some threes to pace this Chicago offense.
Give me a 30-point outing from LaVine and a Bulls win to boot! Let’s see some red and GO BULLS!!
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