uyIt’s been a solid week of basketball for the Chicago Bulls so far. After a disastrous loss to the Cavaliers, they have bounced back with two wins against two of the better teams in the Eastern Conference in the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers. In their most recent game less than 24 hours ago, the Bulls offense was on fire. More specifically it was Zach LaVine who was scorching hot. He knocked down 11 shots from deep, scoring 41 points on 14 of 19 shooting. The victory in Philadelphia now sets Chicago’s record at 18-21, good enough for 9th in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls have quietly snuck up the standings and into the play-in spots. However they are 2.5 games behind Miami for 8th while the Hawks and Wizards remain on their heels.
This will be the second game of a back to back for Chicago. It will take place at the United Center meaning the Bulls may be fatigued due to playing two games two different cities back to back. They can’t afford to sleepwalk against their opponent as they play one of the surprise teams in the NBA.
Many thought the Utah Jazz were in for a tanking year but instead they are currently 10th in the West with a record of 20-21. They have slowed down a bit since their hot start but are still a solid team. Utah on Thursday snapped a five game losing streak with a 131-114 win against the Houston Rockets. It was a career game for old friend Lauri Markkanen as he scored a whopping 49 points along with eight rebounds. He’s been playing like an All-Star this season, which adds more to the intrigue of how he will perform in his return back to the United Center. Patrick Williams will be his matchup on defense so it will be an interesting battle to see how the Bulls defense aims to slow down Markkanen and prevent him from getting hot from three.
Injury Report: Tony Bradley is out as he is in health and safety protocols. Alex Caruso (right ankle sprain) and Javonte Green (right knee soreness) are listed as questionable. Derrick Jones Jr. is listed as probable with a right wrist sprain, which he suffered in the first half against Philadelphia. As for Utah, Colin Sexton is out with a right hamstring injury.
Game Time: 7PM CT
Odds: The Bulls are two and a half point underdogs at some books but there are +3’s available as well. As for the total, it’s set at 238.5. (Info via the Action Network)