NBA: Bulls and Thunder to beat the spread
Brooklyn have been in fine form since the turn of the year but will go into the mid-season break on the back of a defeat after visiting the United Center.
The spread has not been kind to Jason Kidd’s men so back the Chicago Bulls (-3.5) and the high-flying Thunder (-11.5) to send the Lakers to a new low in this better then 5/2 double.
Brooklyn (24-26) go into this game looking for a fifth win in six after shooting 51.4 per cent from the floor in back-to-back victories.
However Jason Kidd’s men have struggled on the road this season and despite the short flight to Chicago will go down again against the resurgent Bulls (26-25).
Chicago are 7-3 from their last 10 at the United Center and 4-1 in five when hosting the Nets and with Joakim Noah in fine form the Bulls will be confident of a win here, despite the narrow handicap.
In the absence of Derrick Rose and following the departure of Luol Deng, Noah has emerged as a star performer for the Windy City and put up his fourth career triple-double last time out against the Hawks.
With Noah and team mate Taj Gibson enjoying their ball and Chicago welcoming Carlos Boozer back into the fold, Brooklyn, who averaged a season low 35.2 per cent from the field in their most recent match with the Bulls, will head back to the Barclays Center with another defeat.
Oklahoma City (42-12) have beaten the Lakers (18-34) just four times in 18 visits to the Staples Center.
However, with the Thunder placed at -11.5 in the spread, it’s easy to see how far the injury-ravaged Lakers have fallen this term.
The Californian’s have not been able to cope with the absences of Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Pau Gasol, Nick Young, Jodie Meeks and Xavier Henry and few teams are better placed to highlight this than the Thunder.
LA have lost their last six in front of a home crowd and nine of their last 11 overall. Another defeat at the Staples Center will represent the worst home skid since the franchise moved to LA from Minneapolis in 1960.
All hopes of an end to that run stop short at the hands of Kevin Durant though. The MVP-elect is averaging 35.2 points over his last 21 games, shooting 53.3 per cent, and those stats only improve when he faces the Lakers.
KD is averaging 37.3 in his last three against LA and with the All Star in such good form a repeat of the 122-97 score line last seen when these two met could easily be achieved again.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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