The Oklahoma City Thunder head to the Windy City to take on Chicago Bulls at the United Center on Tuesday night.
Both teams are currently below the .500 mark but despite that, both are very much alive in the playoff race. OKC beat the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday while the Bulls defeated the Toronto Raptors a few days back. This is already the 4th meeting between these two teams this season. The Bulls won their first two meetings in OKC but the Thunder won their most recent encounter.
The Oklahoma City Thunder are 17-22 on the season and they are 4th in the Northwest Division and are tied for 11th in the Western Conference team standings, but are just 3.5 games behind the 8th seed. OKC has won three out of their last four games heading to this contest.
In their last game, OKC defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 128-122 on Sunday. Shai-Gilgeous Alexander scored 30 points to lead the Thunder while Kenrich Williams added 17 on 7-8 shooting. Aleksej Pokusevski put up a career-high 23 points as the Thunder improved to 6-4 in their last 10 games. OKC Played without Lugentz Dort, Al Horford, Theo Maledon, and George Hill.
The Thunder are 27th in the league in scoring at 106.5 points per game. They are 11th in rebounding at 44.5 boards grabbed per contest, and 24th in passing at 23.1 assists per game. Oklahoma City also owns the league’s 15th best scoring defense at 111.8 points per game allowed.
The Chicago Bulls are 17-20 on the season and they have the second-best record in the Central Division. The Bulls are currently ninth in the Eastern Conference team standings and are just one game behind the 8th seeded Atlanta Hawks. Chicago has won just half of their last 10 games played.
Rookie Patrick Williams scored a career-high 23 points as the Bulls beat the Toronto Raptors 118-95 last Sunday. Zach LaVine added 15 while Coby White contributed 13 markers as Chicago ended a two-game slide. Wendell Carter Jr. posted a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds while Denzel Valentine, Tomas Satoransky, and Thaddeus Young also scored in double digits.
Chicago ranks 11th in the league in scoring at 114.1 points per game this season. They are 24th in scoring defense at 114.6 points per game allowed. They are 10th overall in rebounding at 44.6 boards grabbed per outing. Chicago is 8th in the league in passing at 26.4 dimes per contest.
The Thunder are 6-4 SU in their last 10 games played. Oklahoma City is 9-10 SU in 19 road games played this season, 13-6 SU in their last 19 games against the Eastern Conference, and 9-2 SU in their last 11 games against the Central Division. The Bulls are 2-4 SU in their last six games played. Chicago is 8-13 SU in 21 home games played this season, 3-6 SU in their last 19 games against the Northwest Division, and 4-10 SU in their last 14 games played in March. Head to head, the Thunder are 6-1 in their last seven games played against the Bulls.
The injury list has gone from bad to worse for the Thunder as they are missing several key players here. OKC has won three of four and six out of their last 10 overall. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander may be the best player in this game but without four of their six double-digit scorers, their offense is compromised here.
Meanwhile, the Bulls are just an even 5-5 in their last 10 games played. However, Chicago recently got Lauri Markkanen back and he is providing the team additional scoring. Like the Thunder, the Bulls head to this game coming off a win. Chicago will have more firepower in this game and I think this one will be won on the offensive end. Look for SGA to keep the Thunder close but expect the Bulls to eventually pull away with the more complete lineup.
Prediction: Chicago Bulls
Oklahoma City is 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games played. The Thunder are 47-22 ATS in their last 69 games as when playing on one-day rest, 35-17 ATS in their last 52 games as the road underdog, and 2-5 ATS in their last seven games against an opponent with a losing home record. Chicago is 4-1 ATS in their last five games as the betting favorite, 4-1 ATS in their last five games when playing on one-day rest, 10-4 ATS in their last 14 home games played against an opponent with a losing road record, and 4-0 ATS in their last four Tuesday games. Head to head, these teams have split their last 10 meetings against the spread but the Bulls are 2-1 ATS in their last three encounters.
The Thunder are playing well right now with three wins in their last four games. However, they head to this matchup minus Lugentz Dort, George Hill, Josh Hall, Darius Bazley, and Trevor Ariza. Meanwhile, the Bulls are without Devon Dotson and Garrett Temple. When you look at who’s missing, the injury report favors Chicago. I think that the Bulls will win this game and cover the spread with their depth.
Prediction: Bulls -5.5
The total has gone over in five out of the Thunder’s last seven games played. The under is 5-1 in their last six games played away from home. The over is 4-0 in their last four games after an ATS win, 4-0 ATS in their last four games after a straight up win, 5-0 in their last five games against an opponent with a losing record. The total has gone over in six out of the last seven games played by the Bulls against an opponent with a losing SU record. The under is 5-2 in their last seven games as a home favorite, 5-2 in their last seven games played one one-day rest, and 7-3 in their last 10 games after an SU win. Head to head, the over is 5-0 in their last five meetings. However, the total has gone under in seven out of the last 10 meetings in the Windy City.
The Bulls’ offense looked great last weekend when a total of nine players scored in double digits. The return of Markkanen gives them another scorer and the 7th pick of the 2017 NBA draft has scored a total of 56 points in the three games he’s played since returning from injury. OKC ranks just 27th in scoring this season but is averaging 117 points per game in their last three victories. The Thunder are one of the lowest-scoring teams this season but with Chicago’s defense ranking 24th in the NBA, I expect the Thunder to make more baskets here.
Prediction: Over 224
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