Tonight, the Chicago Bulls will be taking on the San Antonio Spurs from the home of The Alamo, at the AT&T Center, with tip-off scheduled for 8:30pm EST. The Bulls come into this matchup as the number two seed in the Eastern Conference, holding a record of 30-17 while the Spurs are 18-31 and find themselves as the twelfth seed in the Western Conference. The Bulls have won two straight games and three of their last five contests while San Antonio lost last time out to Memphis and have lost three of their last five. The Spurs hold a record of 9-16 at home this season while the Bulls are 13-11 away from the friendly confides of Chicago.
This will be the first meeting between the two teams this season, with the second one coming on Valentine’s Day in Chicago. Forward DeMar DeRozan makes his return to San Antonio after being traded away from the Spurs this past offseason. DeRozan has played extremely well for the Bulls this season and is a major reason why they find themselves at the top of the Eastern Conference standings.
How Chicago can win: With the Bulls missing guards Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso, the team has struggled a bit of late. However, DeMar DeRozan has kept up his impressive play this season, leading to him becoming an All-Star starter for the Eastern Conference. DeRozan is averaging a career-high 26.4 points per game this season along with five rebounds and 4.8 assists. He has been one of the main reasons that Chicago is considered one of the best teams in the league. Alongside him is Zach LaVine, who himself is averaging 24.9 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game. This duo has worked out very well for the Bulls and has them clicking all around.
This Bulls team doesn’t take a lot of three-point shots in their games as they take the league low of 30.2 attempts per game. However, they are making about 38 percent of the shots they do take, which is the highest in the league. The Bulls should look to counter any defensive scheme from the Spurs by taking advantage of their high shooting marks. If the Bulls can get LaVine and DeRozan to both have good games, then Chicago should be able to win this game.
How San Antonio can win: The Spurs are relatively healthy coming into this game which gives them an edge, at least in that category. Adding in that future hall-of-fame coach Gregg Popovich is still on the sidelines, the Spurs always seem to stay in games that they have no business of being in. While Chicago boasts more star power, the Spurs have capable players that can steal this game. It starts with getting production from the other players around guard Dejounte Murray. Murray has been leading the way for San Antonio this season, averaging 19.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 9.1 assists per game. He can’t win this game alone so other players will need to step up to take down Chicago.
Guard Devin Vassell has been a bright spot for the Spurs this season and has taken the opportunity granted to him and seized it. Popovich seems to trust him in the biggest moments and Vassell dropped 20 points for the third time this season in their last game against Memphis. If he can give them another strong scoring game in addition to what Murray does best, the Spurs could find themselves right in the thick of things with the Bulls.
The Spread Via FanDuel:
Moneyline: CHI: (-118) | SA: (+102)
Spread: CHI: -1.5 (-110) | SA: +1.5 (-110)
Final Prediction: Chicago Bulls 111 San Antonio Spurs 104
-Due to the Spurs being healthier, this game will likely be a lot closer than people think. Chicago may be the better team and should ultimately win the game but the Spurs will make this a dogfight. I expect DeRozan to have another good game as he makes his case for the MVP award this season. I’m rolling with the road team to continue their strong season and get another win.