There’s only one game on the NBA slate Tuesday night. The Chicago Bulls are at the Los Angeles Lakers on NBA TV.
This game is the front end of a back-to-back for both teams, who will play Wednesday before getting Thanksgiving off. The Bulls are on the road for the holiday with the final game of their current four-game road trip at Golden State on Friday. The Lakers go to Sacramento tomorrow before their next game, which isn’t until Monday, “at” the Clippers.
The Lakers haven’t been favored by this many points all season.
But it isn’t a surprise the Lakers are the clear favorites. They are still a long way away from competing with contending teams on a nightly basis but the Lakers have shown the ability to play with some good teams and handle most of the poorer ones.
That wasn’t the case last Friday when they dropped a home game to Phoenix but the Lakers had already defeated Phoenix twice and the Suns were out for some measure of revenge. LA got back on track with a nice win over Denver on Sunday. Luke Walton’s team led the whole way and finished with an 18-point win.
Lonzo Ball also had himself a triple-double and Julius Randle scored a season-high 24 points. Randle has been terrific this season. He’s averaging over 12 points per game on 55 percent shooting. The scoring mark is exactly what he averages for his career but it’s the efficiency that’s so far improved.
The Bulls have three wins this season: at home against Atlanta, at Orlando and over the weekend versus Charlotte. All three of those teams are bad and played especially badly in those games.
The best thing Chicago has going for it is rookie Lauri Markkanen, who is getting over 15 points per game and getting them rather efficiently. He’s averaging seven three-point attempts per game on almost 37 percent shooting. Bobby Portis is also back after his eventful training camp and putting up numbers as he does. But the Lakers have good answers for both of those guys and more.
There isn’t anything complicated about this pick. The Lakers have just looked like the better team all season. They can play competent to good basketball, while the Bulls are truly on the shortlist with Atlanta and Sacramento as one of the worst teams in the NBA. Los Angeles is at home and will look forward to feasting on one of the weakest teams. It’s what you have to do when you aren’t a great team yourself.
Free Pick: Los Angeles -5.5