Nets vs. Bulls Picks & Prediction for February 24: Chicago’s Six-Game Skid Ends

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DeMar DeRozan #11 of the Chicago Bulls dribbles against Joe Harris #12 of the Brooklyn Nets on January 04, 2023. Michael Reaves/Getty Images/AFP.

Score Prediction: Bulls 114 – Nets 112 

NBA Pick: Bulls ML (-130) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Bulls ML (-130)
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The disappointing Chicago Bulls, on a six-game losing streak, need to go on a run right away out of the All-Star break to avoid missing the playoffs. They host the fellow playoff-hopeful Brooklyn Nets on Friday.

Which side of the 1.5-point spread has the best value at the best sportsbooks? We also have a total play for your NBA picks

Brooklyn Nets vs. Chicago Bulls 

Friday, February 24, 2023 – 08:00 PM EST at United Center 

What You Should Know

Originally, Friday night’s Brooklyn at Chicago game was to be televised by ESPN, but with the Nets having traded away Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving and the Bulls as huge disappointments, the network dumped the game. That doesn’t mean it’s not important in the East playoff race and the teams could meet in the play-in tournament.  

This is the final regular-season meeting between the clubs with Chicago winning the first two but losing the last matchup 116-105 in Brooklyn on Feb. 9. In his first game back with the Nets via the Irving trade with Dallas, Spencer Dinwiddie had 25 points in that one.

Cam Thomas had 20 and Joe Harris 18 off the bench. Zach LaVine had 38 points and the Bulls were plus-2 in his 40 minutes, but he got no help. All-Star DeMar DeRozan had 14 points and was minus-23. 

Vaughn Signed Long Term 

One could argue that no team needed the All-Star break more than the Nets after making over their team ahead of the Trade Deadline with the trades of Durant and Irving. All those extra practices can only help Coach Jacque Vaughn, who during the break was signed to a contract extension through the 2026-27 season. Vaughn has posted a 32-19 record since taking over for the fired Steve Nash following a 2-5 start. 

While he won’t win it, Vaughn would deserve NBA Coach of the Year honors if he can guide this team to the postseason with all it has been through. At 34-24, the Nets hold down the No. 5 spot in the East, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Knicks (sixth) and Heat (seventh) pass them. 

Brooklyn has an updated season wins total of Over/Under 46.5 at the best New York betting sites. It is -1600 to reach the playoffs, which means after the play-in tournament, and +800 to miss. To compete in the play-in tournament, the Nets are +380.  

The Nets ended a two-game slide in their final game before the break with a 116-105 win over Miami - that could have important tiebreaker ramifications.

Recent Players' Performance

Mikal Bridges, the key piece back from the Suns in the Durant trade, had a career-high 45 points, including 15 in a row to break an open close game. Bridges has the longest active consecutive games played streak in the NBA (368) and is averaging a career-best 17.6 ppg this season. 

Seth Curry was scoreless in 10 minutes after missing five games with a left adductor strain. Ben Simmons was a non-factor in that game with two points, four rebounds, and four assists in 20 minutes. Just shocking how far the former No. 1 overall pick and Rookie of the Year has fallen. He’s questionable for this game but it hardly matters.  

The Nets are 20-10 (.667) in clutch games this season, which is any game when there are five or fewer minutes remaining and the scoring margin is within five points. That’s the third-best such winning percentage in the NBA. Brooklyn is 10-4 ATS in its past 14 games. 

Bulls Lack Leadership 

You ever watch a team regardless of the sport that seemingly lacks heart and badly needs a true outspoken leader like LeBron James? I don’t even mean someone near as talented but who will speak up and wake a struggling team up?

The Chicago Bulls don’t have that person, and that’s part of the reason why this team is 26-33 and 11th in the West despite having three All-Star caliber players in DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine, and Nikola Vucevic. The Bulls are 6-3 this season when they all score 20 or more points in the same game. 

Is Ball Coming to the Rescue?

Unfortunately, starting point guard Lonzo Ball isn’t coming to the rescue, either. Ball suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee against the Warriors in his last NBA game on Jan. 14, 2022. Chicago looked like an East contender then with a 27-13 record.

Ball was originally thought to miss 6-8 weeks but hasn’t played since and won’t this season. His career is in jeopardy. The Bulls are 45-56 since he has been out as they really don’t have a true point guard, and Ball was also a terrific defender. 

The Bulls did add some guard depth during the break by signing Chicago native Patrick Beverley, who was dealt from the Lakers to the Magic around the Trade Deadline and then took a contract buyout. Beverley is still a pretty good defender but that’s about it.

Players' Stats vs. Nets

Chicago looks to end a season-high six-game skid on Friday.  

  • Vucevic is averaging 15.0 rebounds vs. Brooklyn this season. He is the only NBA player this season with two streaks of at least nine consecutive double-doubles overall in the 2022-23 campaign. 
  • LaVine is averaging 26.7 ppg vs. the Nets this year. 

Prediction and Picks

It’s very hard to know which Bulls team shows up on a given night but they are 9-4-1 ATS in their past 14 at home and a banged-up DeRozan probably is healthy as he has been in weeks with the break. Maybe Beverley helps some.

Following the NBA odds, we will go with the small moneyline in case the Bulls win by 1-2 points and a total. 

Score Prediction: Bulls 114 - Nets 112 

NBA Pick: Bulls ML (-130) at BetOnline

NBA Pick: Over 223 (-110) at Bookmaker (visit our Bookmaker Review)

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Over 223 (-110)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.