In afternoon NBA action, we have a couple of games, including the Chicago Bulls and Dallas Mavericks at 3:05 p.m. EST. Along with the Bulls and Mavericks, the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics are scheduled to get the day started in Boston at TD Garden. The Cleveland Cavaliers and Washington Wizards are postponed, but we still have a total of six games on the docket today.
There weren’t going to be too many people interested in the Cavaliers and Wizards. Six players have tested positive for Covid-19 on the Wizards, so it could be a while before the Wizards are playing basketball again. If you recall during Major League Baseball, teams that had a full blown outbreak in the locker room, were on the shelf for a long while.
The Chicago Bulls are coming off a 127-125 loss against the Oklahoma City Thunder in overtime on Friday. It was a tough loss for the Bulls after blowing a big lead, in a tough season in Chicago. It was the fourth consecutive game that left the Bulls feeling frustrated. They lost by four points against the Sacramento Kings, 128-124, and then came back for a 117-115 loss against the LA Lakers.
Those were two games that the Bulls could have very easily lost. The Bulls weren’t done yet. They lost their next outing last Sunday by a score of 130-127 against the Clippers, and then most recently, a 127-125 loss against the Thunder in overtime. Taking the Lakers and Clippers to the wire is nothing to feel ashamed about for the Bulls. At least the offense has been playing at a high level.
Overall, the Bulls own a record of 4-8, which isn’t good, but they’ve been competitive at least and the offense has been performing. Zach LaVine has been a beast for the Bulls, and he’s on pace to best his career-high of 25.5 points per game from last year. LaVine has improved pretty well every season since he’s entered the league since 2014 with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Bulls have another tough matchup against the Mavericks on the road this afternoon. The Mavericks may not have hit their full stride yet, but are a dangerous team led by Luka Doncic. The native of Slovenia has scored 27.5 points per game through ten games. He’s in the same ballpark as the 28.8 points a game he scored as a sophomore in 2019. The Mavs go into Sunday with a pedestrian mark of 6-5. Head below for our free Bulls vs. Mavericks pick on January 17, 2021.
Chicago Bulls vs. Dallas Mavericks NBA Betting Odds:
Bulls vs. Mavericks Prediction:
The Bulls’ offense runs through 25-year-old Zach LaVine. The high-flying LaVine should get more attention than he does, but playing on the Bulls in the Eastern Conference doesn’t help much. In any event, the Bulls are a fun team to watch offensively. They are scoring an average of 116.8 points per game for fourth in the NBA. The Bulls are one of the better three-point shooting teams in the league as well, having connected at a rate of 38.5% from deep.
That’s not typically what you would expect from a 4-8 team, but the Bulls have been getting knocked out defensively. Chicago has conceded 121.6 points per game this season. That has them just about dead last in the NBA, but they don’t own that dubious honor. The Bulls are 29th in the league defensively. Opposing teams are shooting 47.8% from the field against the Bulls.
In their previous four outings, the Bulls have allowed 125.5 points per game. The OVER has gone 4-0 in those four games, including 5-1 in their last six outings. The Mavericks haven’t hit their stride yet, but as Porzingis continues to get more comfortable after recently returning, the Mavs’ offense will likely take off. They’ve netted 109.4 points per game for 20th in the league, but expect that to go up significantly with a healthy Porzingis.
Porzingis 31.8 points per game to lead the Mavericks in scoring a season ago. The former New York Knick is off to a decent start with 25 points a game through two showings. The Bulls’ defense presents a nice opportunity for the Mavericks’ offense to come to life on Sunday. It’s highly unlikely that the Bulls can contain Doncic and Porzingis this afternoon. Look for the OVER to get there in a high-scoring contest in Dallas.