[Thanks to Walker for today’s game preview. -yfbb]
Spurs (18-4) @ Bulls (11-10)
Start Time: 8:30 ET on TNT
Bulls: Doug McDermott returns tonight, with no minutes restrictions.
Michael Carter-Williams Out (Wrist)
Spurs: Tony Parker is questionable after sitting the Spurs previous game
The Spurs have built up an extremely impressive record coming into tonight and are on a four-game winning streak, but they have looked mediocre at times in doing so. Three of the last four wins were close games against mediocre-at-best competition. The Spurs rank 11th in defensive efficiency (104.9) and seventh in offensive efficiency (110.3), so their defense isn’t quite as stout as it used to be, which is no surprise given the significant presence of old friend Pau Gasol. The Bulls will get Doug McDermott back to help their shooting woes, and maybe they’ll be able to take advantage of that just okay Spurs defense.
The Bulls need to win the matchup of the wings. Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler will match up with Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard. Green and Leonard are both elite defenders and will be a tough matchup for the Bulls duo. The Jimmy/Kawhi battle should be especially fun to watch given their standing as two of the elite wings in the NBA.
Rebounding is another thing to watch. The Bulls are second in the NBA in rebounding differential at +5.4 and the best offensive rebounding team in the NBA. The Spurs are rather strong on the defensive glass but not that good corralling their own boards. Chicago winning the battle of the boards would be a big boost.
The Bulls come in cold and the Spurs come in hot, but I see this shaping up as an extremely close game. I see a big game for Dwyane Wade and also LaMarcus Aldridge for the Spurs. The game will go deep into the fourth quarter, where the Bulls have struggled. The Bulls will struggle again and the Spurs will just cover the spread, ending the #TNTBulls magic and keeping San Antonio undefeated on the road this season.
Prediction: Spurs by 6