Despite losing on national television on Friday, the Chicago Bulls had a great past week of basketball. Even in the loss, they battled against the best team in the Eastern Conference down to the wire and we even saw signs of a Zach LaVine fourth quarter takeover. Chicago then rebounded back nicely and beat the Sacramento Kings the next night, 122-114. It was a game which the Bulls had controlled since the start and it was nice to see them effectively close out the opposition in the final minutes to seal the victory.
The three wins last week has Chicago sitting 9th in the Eastern Conference standings. They have two teams only a half game behind them in Miami and Atlanta but there is also a chance the Bulls can move up into a playoff spot. With only five teams in the Eastern Conference having a greater than .500 record, Chicago still has a chance to get the sixth seed. They are only 1.5 games behind the Boston Celtics for sixth and only one behind the Knicks for seventh. So while it looks to be a tight race, the Bulls have shown that they have the chance to be in the thick of things till the very end. Now they start a stretch of playing three straight Western Conference opponents.
Tonight’s opponent will be the Houston Rockets. It’s been a really rough stretch of games for them as of late. Houston is currently second to last in the Western Conference and is on a seven game losing streak. The last time they emerged victorious from a game was back on February 4th against the Memphis Grizzlies. Houston also played Philadelphia in their most recent game and like Chicago, they had the same result. Despite 28 points from John Wall and 19 from DeMarcus Cousins, it wasn’t enough to stop Joel Embiid (31 points and 11 rebounds).
This won’t be the first meeting between the two teams this season as they both played each other last month. Zach LaVine scored 33 points to lead all scorers, Lauri Markkanen dropped 18, and Chicago had a total of seven players score in double digits. It was enough to outlast the combined 62 combined points of Victor Oladipo and Christian Wood and result in a 125-120 Bulls win.
Injury report: Nothing has changed on Chicago’s end in terms of injury updates. Lauri Markkanen (right shoulder), Chandler Hutchison (right lower leg), and Otto Porter Jr. (lower back spasms) are all still out.
Meanwhile for Houston, they will be missing a big offensive component of their team as Oladipo is out with a right foot sprain. Wood is still out with his ankle sprain, while Dante Exum will miss tonight’s game with a right calf strain. P.J. Tucker is probable despite being listed on the injury report with a left quad contusion.
Game Time: 7PM CT
Odds: Houston initially opened as a one point favorite but the line has switched over and Chicago is now a two-point favorite. You can also still find lines that have the Bulls (-1.5) as well. Meanwhile for the O/U, the total seems to be set at 226 at most places but you can also find 226.5 too (all info via the Action Network).