The Bulls travel to Los Angeles, having lost 7 of its last 8 games. Only one of those losses was close. The biggest issue the Bulls have is an innate inability to put the ball through the hoop. They currently rank 2nd last in scoring at 101 PPG while only shooting 44.5% from the field. This will be the 4th game of a 5-game road swing through the west. The Bulls, losers of 7 straight are 5-17 on the road, which is actually on par with how well the team has played at home. In all fairness, injuries and internal issues have interrupted any possibility this team could gain any momentum. The only player playing at a high level is Zach LaVine, who is averaging just under 24 PPG. No one is averaging over 7 rebounds or assists per game.
The Lakers are coming off an embarrassing home loss against the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers. They desperately need Lebron James to come back from injury before they fall out of playoff contention. Fortunately, they played so well with him in the lineup that they were able to build a little cushion. Without James, the Lakers are a dismal 3-7, scoring almost 6 points less per game. At times, Kyle Kuzma (18.8) PPG and Brandon Ingram (16.5 PPG) look like legitimate stars. Sometimes, they look like very good role players. Even with James in the lineup, the Lakers have some holes to fill. They are horrible from 3-point range (33.5%, 27th in the league) and don’t shoot free throws very well. James remains out for this one.
Prediction: With the Lakers shooting the ball so poorly and the Bulls preferring a slower pace, this looks like a slow scoring affair just waiting to happen. This contention would be supported by the fact both teams are averaging less than 106 PPG over its last 10 games. Play under 214 (score – Los Angeles 101-97)