Oklahoma City Thunder v Chicago Bulls – NBA Betting Preview and Prediction
After losing two in a row, Oklahoma City Thunder will look to bounce back with a win against the struggling Chicago Bulls, who will take a trip to Chesapeake Energy Arena this Tuesday, for their 29th fixture of the season.
Thunder looking to bounce back
Oklahoma City Thunder are entering their 26th fixture of the season with a slightly underwhelming 11-14 on the year and 3-2 in their last five. While holding onto three wins in their last five is not bad per se, the concerning thing is that Thunder’s two defeats came from their most recent two fixtures. Looking back, Thunder defeated Minnesota Timberwolves (139:127)(OT), Portland Trail Blazers (108:96) and Utah Jazz (104:90), but fell flat against Sacramento Kings (93:94) and most recently against Denver Nuggets (102:110).
In regards to their clash with Denver Nuggets, Oklahoma City Thunder played well and were even on a solid path to victory, however, they severely underperformed in the third quarter. The first quarter ended with 27:20 lead for Denver, which got reduced to 52:49 by the end of the second quarter. After a solid show in the second quarter, Thunder severely underperformed in the third quarter, where they got outscored by 11 points (19:30), which set them back by a significant margin. Despite being 14 points down, Thunder put up a solid fight in the fourth quarter, where they came close to closing the gap, but in the end, fell short of eight points. Denver Nuggets walked away from that bout with a 110:102 win.
It was a night to remember for Nikola Jokic, who earned a triple-double and ended up as the top scorer of the match. He scored 28 points, added 14 rebounds and 12 dimes. Dennis Schroder was the second-best scorer with 22 points, to which he added five rebounds and four assists. Will Barton ended the match as the third-best scorer with 18 points, six rebounds and one assist. Steven Adams also scored 18 to which he added 14 rebounds to secure a double-double.
High-flying Bulls hoping to keep their streak alive
Chicago Bulls are entering the Tuesday’s bout with a 10-18 record on the year and 2-3 in their last five. While not the most promising record to hold, Bulls are entering this fixture with their morale at its highest, seeing how they defeated LA Clippers last night and will now look to do the same against Thunder. Other than their win against Clippers, Bulls lost to Charlotte Hornets (73:83), defeated Atlanta Hawks (136:102) and lost against both Toronto Raptors (92:93) and Miami Heat (105:110)(OT) to round up their last five fixtures.
Looking back at Bulls’ most recent match, Boylen’s men fully utilized their aggressive trapping and blitzing defense to derail the Clippers who struggled to keep up with the hosts. The first quarter started as many would have expected, seeing how Clippers earned an early five-point lead (29:24), but received a response from Bulls in the second quarter (28:31), which reduced the gap to only two points ahead of the second half. Bulls managed to keep the momentum going in the third quarter, where they closed the gap and got themselves in a five-point lead (84:79) thanks to their defense, which kept Clippera at only 35 FG%. In the last quarter, Clippers put up some resistance and even got themselves in a three-point lead in the final minutes, but ultimately fell flat as they saw Bulls edge past them to win the match with a final score of 109:106.
Top scorer of the night was Zack LaVine with 31 points, four rebounds and two assists, followed by Montrezl Harrell with 30 points and seven rebounds, and Paul George as the third-best scorer with 27 points, four rebounds and six assists to which he also added two steals. Other than that, Lauri Markkanen secured a double-double with 13 points and 17 rebounds, to which he added four assists.
Verdict & Prediction
Thunder will be without Hamidou Diallo, while Terrance Ferguson is listed as questionable. Bulls on the other side have Kris Dunn, Tomas Satoransky, Zach LaVine, Wendell Carter Jr., Ryan Arcidiacono and Denzel Valentine all listed as probable. Chandler Hutchison is doubtful, and Daniel Gafford is questionable. Despite a long list of players who are listed as probable, we expect them to appear on the court here and play. That being said, we believe Bulls won’t have an easy time against Thunder here. Despite their questionable results in recent matches, Thunder are playing well and as we see it, they were a bit unlucky to lose against Kings and Denver. While playing against the aggressive Bulls’ defense is no easy task, Thunder are well-coached, which will benefit them greatly in making the needed plays to outplay Bulls in the defensive end. The biggest win condition for Thunder is Steven Adams who has been playing very well in recent weeks. He is a huge inside presence and if he can continue playing at the same tempo as he did, he will be a huge nuisance for Bulls. All things considered, Thunder have all the needed tools to win here and while Bulls did manage to defeat Clippers last weekend, we don’t expect them to have the same success here.
Prediction: Oklahoma City Thunder -5.50 Points
Odds: 1.95 Pinnacle