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Jeff Allen Thursday NBA Game Preview: Bulls at Lakers

Jeff Allen Thursday NBA Game Preview: Bulls at Lakers

In a lot of ways it’s almost tragic that the Kobe Bryant farewell tour has to end like this, on a team that is not very good to begin with and forced to tank to retain it’s protected lottery pick. At 9-38 (5-16 home, 4-22 away), the Lakers are in good shape to be in the hunt for Ben Simmons but don’t dare get to cocky with the Suns, Pelicans, Nets and T-Wolves all within shouting distance and have seemingly thrown in the towel to this season. Tonight, they face a Chicago Bulls team that is desperate for any win and will likely have Derrick Rose back in the lineup. Kobe is questionable with a sore shoulder. At this writing, the line is Chicago -8.5 with the total up a half click to 202.

The 25-19 Bulls have struggled of late losing seven of their last ten. Many wonder if the switch from slave driver Tom Thibodeau to Fred Hoiberg was the right move as this edition of the Bulls often times appears lackadaisical and to not play hard. Jimmy Butler (22.3, 5.3, 4.2) is a star and has more than justified his max extension over the summer. Though a shell of himself and dinged of late, Derrick Rose (15.3, 4.5) has played in 38 of Chicago’s 44 games as he plays out his walk year. Pao Gasol is the best one-year deal in the NBA, still giving you 16.6 points and 10.9 boards and never saying a bad word to anyone.

The Lakers are a train wreck that could take years to turn around. Kobe still leads the team in scoring (15.8, 3.8, 3.3) but needs a ton of shots to get there. It’s scary to think that Lou Williams (15.3) and Jordan Clarkson (15.1) are in the league never mind your second and third scoring options. Julius Randle has shown hope in grabbing 9.6 boards per game in just 26 minutes of work per night. The jury is still out on last year’s No.2 overall pick D’Angelo Russell (12.2, 3.3, 3.2) who is having a so-so year as a rookie.

The Bulls have won six of the last eight in the series but lost on this floor last year. Chicago has has two days off and will haveanother two days off before facing the Clippers. This is game one of a seven-game West Coast swing that could find the Bulls without a first round home court in the playoffs if they were not to get a positive result on this road trip. Six of the last eight Bulls games have gone over the total and the Lakers had allowed 108+ in six straight games before their 92-90 loss to the Mavs on Tuesday. Not real anxious to lay almost double-digits with a not very reliable Chicago team but might rather look for this total to fly over the reasonable 202.

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