I was incorrect on my free NBA pick last Thursday as Chicago (-13) did grab a victory at home versus New York, but only by 6, 103-97. This evening the Los Angeles Lakers travel to Chicago to take on the Bulls on a Christmas evening match-up!
The Los Angeles Lakers have won 4 of their last 7 games after only winning 5 of their first 21. On Tuesday they came away with a surprise 115-105 home win versus the league-leading Warriors. They have scored 100 or more points in 5 of their last 6 games. They have allowed 8 of their last 10 opponents to score 100 or more points. 10 of their 19 losses have been by a margin of 10 or more points. They are 5-9 on the road this season. They are 2-2 in their last 4 road contests. They are 4-3 versus Eastern Conference opponents. They are 12th in the league in points per game with 102.6, 16th in the league in rebounds per game with 42.3, 21st in the league in assists per game with 20.6, and 30th in the league in points allowed with 109.1. Kobe Bryant is leading the team in scoring with 24.6 points per game. Tonight is the 1st game of a back to back. They are 3-3 in the 1st game of a back to back. Tomorrow night they play at Dallas. This is the Lakers’ 16th straight game played on Christmas. They are 5-10 in the last 15 Christmas day games. The Chicago Bulls have won 4 straight and 7 of their last 8 games. On Tuesday they were victorious 99-91 at Washington. They have scored 100 or more points in 11 of their last 14 games. They have held 5 of their last 6 opponents to under 100 points. During their current 4 game streak all 4 wins have been by a margin of less than 10 points. They are 6-5 at home this season. They have won their last 4 home games. They are 5-5 versus Western Conference opponents. They are 10th in the league in points per game with 103, 6th in the league in rebounds per game with 45.1, 12th in the league in assists per game with 21.9, and 12th in the league in points allowed with 98.9. Jimmy Butler leads the team in scoring with 21.7 points per game. Including this evening they play 7 of their next 8 games at home. Their next game is Saturday at home versus New Orleans. This is the Bulls’ 5th straight game played on Christmas. They are 2-2 in the previous 4 Christmas day games.
Last season Chicago won both meetings versus Los Angeles. After tonight the 2 teams play 1 more time this season, January 29th at Los Angeles. The Bulls and Lakers last played each other on Christmas during the 2011-2012 season with the Bulls coming out of Los Angeles with a narrow 88-87 win.
Lakers vs Bulls Prediction
Lakers head coach Byron Scott has elected to put Kobe on a plan where he’ll get rest on certain days and games. Today he’ll play after sitting out their win over the Warriors. It will be interesting to see how he responds on the court after sitting out. Pau Gasol takes on the Lakers for the first time after leaving them in the off-season for the Bulls. Derrick Rose is starting to look like his old self, at least in spurts. The Bulls just had impressive wins in back to back game versus the Raptors and Wizards.
Take the Bulls -11