Our winning streak came to abrupt halt as the “good Nuggets” showed up in Orlando and absolutely hammered the young Magic. I was expecting the “bad Nuggets” for their fourth straight road game, but got the opposite. Hopefully none of you actually subjected yourself to viewing that mess last night and instead enjoyed either NCAA Tournament action or the interesting message game the Spurs dropped at Atlanta or even just some quiet, peaceful Sunday evening lives. Anything but Nuggets at Magic…
Anyhow, the college kids take a rest aside from a few NIT games tonight, so it is back to full NBA focus, and there are some pretty good matchups on the board. It appears the Pacers little resurgence lost some steam along with Paul George’s “well, maybe I’m not coming back” announcement, but tonight’s home game against Houston will be an interesting litmus test. I’m also looking forward to seeing if John Wall and company put forth any challenge tonight in the Bay Area. Let’s dig in to today’s free pick and see if we can get back on track.
Today’s Free Pick:
Charlotte Hornets at Chicago Bulls -6.5
The Bulls are a mercurial bunch and have their fair share of impressive victories and ugly losses, but all in all, they are still one of the three best teams in the East, Rose or no Rose. Meanwhile, Charlotte has lost six of their last eight games with their only wins coming at Minnesota and a home win over these same Chicago Bulls. That win could provide enough of a spark of interest for the Bulls to play to their talent and grab their attention.
Chicago has lost six of the last ten games, including three of thei last five, however all of those three losses came on the road. The Bulls are clearly going through some lulls – fatigue from a long season and perhaps fatigue from another emotional roller coaster of a season full of devastating injuries (remix!) Derek Rose’s injury was heartbreaking, but Jimmy Butler’s injury might be the nail in the season’s (and Coach Thibb’s Chi-town tenure?) coffin.
Chicago is just 5-7 without Butler and the game total has gone over in nine of twelve games. They just don’t score as well or defend tough enough without Jimmy Butler. They are much better at home than they are on the road, but things are still pretty dire in Chicago. Charlotte is 5-1 ATS in their last six matchups against Chicago, and most of them were with Butler and some even with Rose. I am surprised that they are getting a half dozen points given the Bulls struggles and their personnel deficiencies, but I’ll take the points tonight even on the road.