Good matchup of likely NBA Eastern Conference playoff teams on Monday night as LaMelo Ball and the Charlotte Hornets visit Lonzo Ball and the Chicago Bulls. Which way to lean at BMR’s best sportsbooks?
Charlotte Hornets vs. Chicago Bulls
Monday, November 29, 2021 – 08:00 PM EST at United Center
Monday is the first of three regular-season meetings between the Hornets and Bulls. They could definitely meet in the playoffs, too, as both should make it.
Chicago won all three meetings last season, each by double digits. Nikola Vucevic averaged 23.5 points and 15.0 rebounds in the series for the Bulls. Zach LaVine put up 19.0 points and 5.5 assists per game. Devonte Graham averaged 20.0 points, but he’s no longer with the Hornets. Gordon Hayward had 34 points in his lone game.
Charlotte is 2-5 against the spread in its past seven in Chicago.
Hornets Without Plumlee
Charlotte (13-9) played one of the wildest games of the season on Saturday but had a three-game winning streak snapped in a 146-143 overtime loss at a terrible Houston team. The Hornets’ P.J. Washington forced overtime with a putback dunk off a missed three-pointer from LaMelo Ball, tying it at 135 with 4.4 seconds remaining. Kelly Oubre Jr. missed a three-pointer with three seconds remaining in OT that would have given Charlotte the lead.
Washington is recently back from injury and has started the past couple of games with center Mason Plumlee out due to a right calf strain. He will not play here, either. Plumlee averages 6.8 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game. Nick Richards has picked up some minutes off the bench with Plumlee out. Ball got his second triple-double of the season on Saturday with 19 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds. He has three career triple-doubles (two this season) and is the third-youngest player in NBA history to reach three. Ball turned 20 in August. Only Luka Doncic and Magic Johnson reached three career triple-doubles at a younger age.
Ball has the sixth most double-doubles of any NBA player in the month of November as he is averaging 19.7 points, 8.7 rebounds and 8.9 assists over 15 games this month. He has four games this season with at least 13 assists, which is the third-most in the NBA, only trailing the Suns’ Chris Paul (six) and Lakers’ Russell Westbrook (five). It will be very fun to see
The Hornets are 2-8 ATS on the NBA picks in their past 10 on the road.
Bulls Need to Get Vucevic Going
Chicago has yet to have its full complement of players this season. As we noted above, second-year forward Patrick Williams is likely out the rest of the regular season due to injury. Guard Coby White got a late start to the season because of surgery.
All-Star center Nikola Vucevic recently missed a handful of games due to COVID. Coach Billy Donovan said that Vucevic is “getting his footing back under him.” Vucevic’s 13.4 points per game are the lowest since his first year with the Magic in the 2012-13 season and his 40 field-goal percentage is a career low.
The Bulls might be a bit out of rhythm right now as they have dropped three of four following a 107-104 home loss to Miami on Saturday – certainly no shame in losing to the very good Heat, and it was the second of a back-to-back for Chicago. The Bulls outshot the Heat 46.9 percent to 43.0 percent and dominated the boards but turned it over a whopping 23 times. That was unusual because the Bulls average just 13.5 turnovers a game, which is eighth-best in the league.
DeMar DeRozan continued his excellent play with 28 points and seven rebounds, but Zach LaVine was held to 16 points. Lonzo Ball had 11 points and 11 rebounds but four turnovers. DeRozan and LaVine are the only teammates and two of only seven players overall to score at least 20 points 16 times this season. DeRozan leads the NBA with 141 fourth-quarter points, while LaVine is second with 130.
Donovan is known as a defensive-minded coach and the Bulls rank fifth in the league in defensive rating at 104.7 points allowed per 100 possessions. Chicago is 8-2 ATS on the NBA odds in its past 10 after a loss. While the Bulls probably win this game, simulations I have run have it as just a four-point margin of victory. Thus, we’ll take the points. Charlotte has covered six straight games vs. teams with winning records.
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