Bulls (26-39, 14-19 road) at Hornets (32-33, 17-14 home)
- Time: 4PM PST – 6PM CST – 7PM EST
- Place: Spectrum Center, Charlotte, NC
- TV: NBC Sports Chicago | Bally Sports Southeast | NBA League Pass
The Chicago Bulls have lost four in a row and six out of eight as they have fallen out of the play-in scenario in the Eastern Conference. Chicago is 3.5 games of the Washington Wizards for the 10-seed, so their post-season hopes are basically game-by-game with must-wins.
Charlotte has LaMelo Ball back as he was out from March 20 until Tuesday night with a fractured wrist. The Hornets went 11-12 over the duration with Ball out of the line-up.
The Hornets are sitting at the 8-seed with and are two games back of Boston and Miami who are tied for six. Charlotte has won four of its last seven and with Ball on board, the ability to move back into the Top 6 is a reality.
Chicago has won both meetings with the Hornets this season as the Bulls won, 123-110, on Jan. 22 in Charlotte and then came back with a 108-91 decision over the Hornets on April 22.
The two teams have split the last ten games in the series and Charlotte has lost the last two games in Spectrum Center to the Bulls.
Key Rotational Injuries
- Chicago Bulls – Nikola Vucevic (adductor), Zach LaVine (illness) – Probable
- Charlotte Hornets – Miles Bridges (health and safety protocols), Gordon Hayward (foot), Cody Martin (ankle), P.J. Washington (personal) – OUT; Devonte’ Graham (knee) – Day to Day
Vs. The Spread
Bulls (32-32-1, ATS):
- Chicago is 1-5 ATS in it’s last 6 games
- The UNDER is been the call in 4 of the Bulls’ last 5 outings
- ChiTown is 2-6 ATS in it’s last 8 games vs, Charlotte
Hornets (33-31-1, ATS):
- Charlotte is 18-27 as an underdog and 10-21 vs. the O/U at home
- The total has gone UNDER in 10 of Charlotte’s last 14 games
- The OVER has been the call, though, in 11 of the last 15 Bulls – Hornets matchups
Last Time Out
The Bulls were missing Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic for the second straight game as they fell to Philadelphia, 106-94 on Tuesday evening. Coby White led Chicago with 23 points. The Bulls trailed by 23 in the third quarter, but went on a 24-5 run and eventually cut the deficit to 88-87 midway through the fourth. The 76ers then had their own 12-4 run to push it back to 100-91 with a little over two minutes remaining.
LaMelo Ball had 23 points as the Hornets slipped by Detroit, 102-99 on Tuesday night. Terry Rozier scored 18 and Caleb Martin netted 17 as Charlotte pushed its lead to six after three quarters and fought off numerous Pistons’ challenges in the fourth quarter as the Hornets never relinquished the lead.
|Teams||Spread||Money Line||Total Points|
|Hornets||-3.5 (-110)||-160||O 219 (-110)|
|Bulls||+3.5 (-110)||+140||U 219 (-110)|
*Odds Courtesy of BetUS Sportsbook
Chicago is 4-7 with Zach LaVine sidelined and his injury came at the most inopportune time as the Bulls were looking like a member of the 4-team play-in scenario in the East. If he and Vucevic are back in tandem the tenor of this game could take on a different meaning. Defending has been an issue all season as opponents have pounded the ball inside and shot 54.6. percent (27th/NBA) from the paint and mid-range, so Chicago, being offensively strapped, should get out and run on the break as often as possible with Coby White (14.9 ppg, 4.7 apg) as the spark plug. White is averaging 17 points and 6.0 assists in his last five games.
Key Bulls Stat:
Getting the ball on the boxes to Thaddeus Young (12.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg) and Daniel Theiss (10.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg) is a must as well. Young delivers as he shoots 57.4 percent from the field while Theiss as at 54.2 percent. Young is also averaging 5.6 assists in his last five outings.
Finding ways to score is a must as Chicago has scored 98 points or fewer in each game of this four-game fall. That’s why I offered White in transition and then Young/Theiss as the change up. LaVine is the go-to guy at all costs and with him and Vucevic ailing, it’s easy to see why the offense has had such an outage. Lauri Markkanen (13.9 ppg, 5.4 rpg) has struggled lately as well as he is only 15-of-38 in his last four games while averaging 9.5 points.
When Ball can get this team out on the break and push the ball, the Hornets become a much tougher team to defend. He has averaged 16.0 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 6.3 assists and he has accumulated seven steals in his three games since his return as the Hornets have gone 2-1 in those with a pair of wins over the Pistons. Charlotte averages 13.8 points off the fast break, but 17.0 in the three games since Ball has returned.
Key Hornets Stat:
Ball’s return also means that Terry Rozier can move back to the 2-guard spot where he can find his threes and kick the ball to his teammates off the dribble at more angles. “Scary Terry” went 10-of-23 from the field with eight threes on Ball’s first night back as he scored 29 points.
The losses of Miles Bridges and P.J. Washington down the stretch will affect the team. Charlotte has to find ways to get scoring out of the small forward and power forward positions. Caleb Martin showed up big time with the 17 points against the Pistons as he and Jalen McDaniels will be needed to fortify those positions. Bismack Biyombo is also an option in the paint. McDaniels averaged 11.0 points and 10.5 rebounds in his last two games.
Winner: Hornets (+3.5) 116, Bulls 111