The New Orleans Pelicans look to conclude a three-game Eastern Conference road swing on a high note as they take on the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night. Tip-off is set for 8:00 p.m. (ET) at the United Center.
This is the first of two contests between the teams, with the Bulls paying a visit to New Orleans next Wednesday. The Bulls and the Pelicans split last year’s two meetings, with each squad winning on their home court. Chicago leads the all-time series 25-19.
New Orleans is favored by 1.5 points, while the over/under is set at 229 points. The Pelicans are -120 on the moneyline, and the Bulls are +105.
About the New Orleans Pelicans
New Orleans (5-5) has lost two straight and is coming off a 129-122 loss to Indiana on Monday, as the Pacers shot 50% from the field and they made 22 3-pointers.
The Pelicans also shot the ball well, connecting on 49.5% of their shots and forcing 17 turnovers. The big difference in the game was that the Pels were outscored by eight points at the 3-point line (22-14) and nine at the charity stripe (21-12).
New Orleans sits in the seventh spot in the Western Conference. The Pelicans are 3-4 on the road, having lost three straight games away from home.
The Pelicans are an excellent shooting team and lead the NBA with 118.1 points a contest. The Pelicans also excel on the boards on both ends —outrebounding opponents by 3.5 caroms a game — and they share the ball well while limiting turnovers.
New Orleans has had its difficulties on the defensive end in the early going. The Pelicans have allowed four opponents to shoot at least 49% from the field.
Overall, the Pels are surrendering the fourth most points in the league (114.1), as their opponents are shooting 46.8% from the field. Rim protection is probably their biggest issue. However, they do a pretty good job at contesting 3-point shots and forcing turnovers.
New Orleans is a very deep team, with ten players averaging at least 17 minutes a game, and is led by their Big 3 of Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, and C.J. McCollum.
Williamson has been terrific this year though health still remains a concern as he has already missed two games. Ingram, who has missed four contests, also has looked fantastic and is shooting the ball the best of his career.
About The Chicago Bulls
Like New Orleans, Chicago (6-6) has dealt with its share of early-season injuries, and they may not have starting point guard Lonzo Ball all season long.
The Bulls began their current three-game homestand by defeating the Toronto Raptors on Monday 111-97 to snap a two-game skid behind a season-high 30 points from Zach LaVine. The Bulls shot a season-high 52.5% from the field and held the Raptors to 42.4% shooting.
The Bulls sit in sixth place in the Eastern Conference. They are 4-2 at home, where they have won two straight and four of five.
Chicago is not a great shooting team though they rank 10th in 3-point percentage and third in free-throw percentage. Frankly, the Bulls — who average 111.1 points a game — have been average at best offensively despite having two of the league’s best scorers in DeMar DeRozan and LaVine.
While Chicago’s early season offensive troubles have been mildly surprising, the bigger shocker has been that the Bulls have all of a sudden transformed into a good defensive team.
The Bulls, who ranked 22nd in the defensive ranking last season, are allowing the 10th fewest points at 109.3 a contest. They have also done a fabulous job at forcing turnovers and protecting the rim.
Free Sports Pick
This should be an excellent and very competitive game. The play here is the Bulls on the moneyline due to a slightly increased value over the spread. Also, the under is a good bet.
Chicago has been excellent on the defensive end, particularly at home, where they are allowing slightly over 106 points a game. The Bulls also have played a tougher schedule than New Orleans and are two games above .500 when both DeRozan and LaVine are in the lineup.
Besides, the Bulls match up well offensively against the Pelicans as they look to attack the basket, and rim protection is a weakness of the Pels.
Free Pick: Chicago Bulls Moneyline (+105) & Under 229 Points (-107)