Chicago Bulls at Phoenix Suns (-6, 211 o/u)
After a signature victory over the NBA-leading Golden State Warriors in Oakland on Tuesday, the Chicago Bulls (30-18) laid an egg in Los Angeles last night, falling in OT to the Kobe-less Lakers (the second-worst team in the Western Conference). Tonight, the Bulls’ six-game road trip continues as they land in Phoenix to face the Suns (27-20) at US Airways Center (10:30 p.m. Eastern).
On Tuesday, the Bulls became just the second team to beat the Warriors at Oracle Arena this season, and the team looked primed to go on a tear. But, last night, the usually solid defensive squad got lit up by five-year vet Jordan Hill to the tune of 26 points on 50-percent shooting. Jimmy Butler had a big night for the Bulls scoring 35 points, but former NBA MVP Derrick Rose scored just 17 on a concerning 7/26 from the field.
Last night’s loss to the Lakers was even more surprising given that the Bulls have been excellent on the road this season, posting a 16-7 record away from home.
On the other side of the floor, the Phoenix Suns are seven games over .500. But, like the Bulls, the team is entirely unpredictable. The Suns have beaten some of the best teams in the NBA (including Dallas and Washington on the road), but dropped games to bottom-feeders (including Detroit, Orlando, and Charlotte at home).
One constant for the Suns this year has been a potent, balanced offense. The team is averaging 107.0 PPG, fifth-best in the NBA, and has four players averaging over 15 points per game. Guard Eric Bledsoe leads the way averaging 16.9 points and six assists per night.
The Suns’ defense is another story entirely. Phoenix surrenders over 105 PPG, fifth-worst in the league. On Wednesday, the team almost let a 22-point lead slip away in the fourth quarter against Washington. However, Goran Dragic and Markieff Morris came up clutch at the end of the game and the Suns escaped with a 106-98 win.
With the Bulls a solid 13-11 ATS on the road this year – and getting a chunk of points tonight (+6) – take Chicago to cover.
(Photo credit: Keith Allison from Owings Mills, USA (Derrick Rose) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)