The Chicago Bulls and Houston Rockets will play in Houston on Monday, as it’s good to see that it’s safe enough to get people to the arena in Texas again. If both of these teams were at full strength, this would be a must-see matchup, featuring stars both young and old trying to lift their team to a win.
The Bulls enter at 13-16, fresh off an impressive win over the slumping Sacramento Kings on Saturday night. Zach LaVine is currently doing something that hasn’t been done by a Bulls player since Michael Jordan was lacing them up.
LaVine is averaging 35 points in the last eight games, becoming just the second Bulls player in the last 35 years to put together such a stretch. This is genuinely incredible, a blast to follow. He should be an All-Star.
Meanwhile, Houston continues to deal with the injury bug. Victor Oladipo and Christian Wood being out of the lineup has ensured a lack of wins for the Rockets. And they agreed verbally to split with DeMarcus Cousins, but not just yet.
He knows his time in Houston is limited, but the team needs his size while Wood heals. So, we will likely see Cousins remain in the starting lineup for this contest.
The spread for Monday night favors visiting Chicago by one point. The over/under is set at 227.5.
Bulls Seeking Victory
At 13-16, the Bulls are just two games out of a top four spot in the surprisingly struggling East. It won’t be like that for long, with teams like Milwaukee and Toronto beginning to figure out winning recipes.
But, here they are, competing for the playoffs as soon as they hired a competent coach like Billy Donovan. They were 39-84 under Jim Boylen.
All a budding team needs is a coach to steer the ship in the right direction. And when they found that, it’s clear why they’re winning.
They needed somebody that LaVine got along with, and boy did they find it. Yes, Chicago is still under .500. But this is the best team they’ve had since trading Jimmy Butler to Minnesota. No question.
We’ll see if they can best Houston.
Rockets Seek to End Skid
It wasn’t that long ago that Houston was on fire. The Rockets put together a five-game win streak after trading James Harden and getting Oladipo into the lineup.
But, as soon as Wood sprained his ankle, things began to unravel. He was playing at an All-Star level and may have gotten the nod, as the Rockets were hovering around .500 when he went down.
It’s been a joy to watch John Wall get back to his old, athletic self. He has been terrific all season, putting up huge numbers in recent games.
The only question now is if he can do it in a game where the team picks up a win. He has proven that he can lead. He just needs to guide the rest of the team now.
Rockets Snap Their Skid
This game will come down to the wire, where Houston will deliver admirably.