After wonderful week of basketball in which Chicago Bulls won three games in a row, they were sent back to Earth on Saturday night. The defending champions Los Angeles Lakers came in and put on a clinic, quickly building up a 30 point lead before halftime. It was a rough day at the office for Chicago as they couldn’t get anything going and were stymied by the Lakers defense. It was a tough lesson for the Bulls as despite making so much progress this season, Saturday’s game shows they still have some ways to go in terms of contending at the top.
The loss bumped Chicago slightly in the standings. They are a part of a handful of teams that are bunched up for the play-in spots of the East playoffs. The Bulls are tied on record with the Raptors and Hornets while being tied in terms of games behind with the New York Knicks. The minimal gap between Chicago and New York in the standings will only heightens the intrigue for the games in February as they are scheduled to meet twice during the month. However, the Bulls have two games to play before that starting today as they host another team which made the playoffs last season.
The Boston Celtics will be the Bulls opponents tonight. They are coming into this game with a record of 9-6, good enough for third best in the East. This will be a second game of a back to back for Boston as they beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 141-103 yesterday, led by Jaylen Brown stepping up for 33 points with Kemba Walker pitching in with 21. The victory snapped a three-game losing streak for the Celtics, which included back to back losses to the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Celtics are getting a big boost, especially in terms of scoring, as Jason Tatum is set to return tonight. It will be a challenge for the Bulls defense as they face another up and coming offensive talent. It’s possible we see Patrick Williams take the duties of guarding Tatum, which would make for an interesting matchup.
Kemba Walker has been ruled out for tonight due to rest. Rookie Payton Pritchard is also out with a recently sprained right knee.
For the Bulls, Wendell Carter Jr. is set to miss his third straight game tonight. So it seems like Daniel Gafford will get the start in his place. Adam Mokoka is also out with a concussion.
Game Time: 8 PM CT
Odds: The Celtics entered this game as an 8-point favorite but the line has shifted a bit towards Chicago’s favor. Boston is now listed as low as a four point favorite and you can find Celtics (-4.5) as well. The over/under is set at 228 at most places but you can find 227 as well (all info via the Action Network)