Bulls vs. Knicks NBA Preview and Best Bet

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Zach LaVine #8 of the Chicago Bulls. Carmen Mandato/Getty Images/AFP

The Bulls and the Knicks’ resurgence has renewed one of the NBA’s most historic rivalries. It’s been a while since both teams have been good but now they get to meet in a meaningful match-up. The NBA odds are close, which team is the winning NBA pick?

Chicago Bulls vs. New York Knicks

Thursday, December 2, 2021 – 7:30 PM EST at Madison Square Garden

Chicago Bulls

The Bulls’ offseason additions have catapulted them to be one of the strongest teams in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls are currently 14-8 and an impressive 7-4 on the road. After a hot start, the Bulls have taken some tough losses over the last five games including dropping games to the Pacers, Rockets, and Heat. A win on Monday night got them back on track and the Bulls will look to carry that momentum into New York tonight.

Many observers such as myself questioned the addition of DeMar DeRozan in the offseason, but we have spent the first 22 games eating crow. DeRozan has been fantastic for this Bulls team and leads them in scoring at 26 points per game. DeRozan has been an excellent complement to Lonzo Ball and Zach LaVine. While LaVine's individual numbers have dropped, he's finally getting positive statistics in the win category, and I'm sure he is happy with that.

Alex Caruso has been a big addition to the Bulls. His on-ball defense is one of the best in the league. While Caruso's stat lines may not be impressive, he adds a lot to the team with his ability to shut down the opposing team’s wings. With Lonzo slowing down opposing point guards at the point of attack and Caruso sticking to the other team's best forward like glue, the Bulls have finally constructed a playoff-worthy defense.

The Bulls are seventh in the league in points against at 104.6 points per game. The Bulls have always been able to score, but with this renewed defensive intensity, the Bulls are finally a true contender.

New York Knicks

New York Knicks lost a tough rivalry game on Tuesday night as they fell to the crosstown Brooklyn Nets 112-110. The Knicks and their fans were disappointed with the team’s inability to close a game that they had within their grasp. They get a chance at instant redemption against another big rival, the Chicago Bulls, tonight.

RJ Barrett is a game-time decision with an illness. His absence definitely hurts the Knicks. Barrett is an excellent scorer off the dribble. Now with Barrett's improved ability on the defensive end, he is finally a complete player that Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau and the team rely upon on both ends of the floor. If Barrett misses the game, this will be tough for a Knicks team that has struggled with depth this season.

Kemba Walker #8 of the New York Knicks reacts with RJ Barrett #9 and Mitchell Robinson #23. Sarah Stier/Getty Images/AFP

Tom Thibodeau recently shortened the rotation and offseason addition Kemba Walker is out of the lineup. Kemba Walker is a native New Yorker and many fans were excited to see him join the team. Unfortunately, his declining health has made him virtually unplayable due to his inability to defend. A degenerative knee condition has sapped Walker's lateral quickness and opposing teams were quick to hunt him on their offensive attack.

The Knicks' short rotation is good for game-by-game bettors however because they are now playing their best players more minutes. While this does cause some long-term concerns for fans of the team, when we bet on these games individually it's nice to know that we are getting the best from this team.

Key Matchup

Alec Burks vs. Zach LaVine

Although DeRozan has garnered most of the headlines, Zach LaVine is still the true engine of this team on offense. Alec Burks is a great two-way player that can score but his primary contribution to the team is through his defense. LaVine has quietly been effective and is not concerned with his declining output.

He is focused on the team’s success. If Burks is able to slow down LaVine, the Knicks have a good chance to keep pace with the Bulls' high-powered offense. If LaVine is able to have a big evening, the Knicks will probably suffer another heart-wrenching defeat.

Best Bet

I like Chicago’s offensive firepower to get it done here tonight. Of course, the Garden will be rocking as the teams haven't been good for a while and now the fans will be excited about a meaningful matchup. Yet Chicago will be able to score down the stretch in crunch times.

The Bulls have many better options on offense in the late-game half-court setting. I like the Bulls to continue their trend of being strong on the road to get the win. Today’s Play of the Day is the Chicago Bulls -2.

NBA Pick: Chicago Bulls -2 (-110) with BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Chicago Bulls -2 (-110)
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