The Bulls picked up a bonus game on Wednesday night. Their originally scheduled matchup with Charlotte was postponed, so they saw Detroit (who also had a game postponed) for the first time this season. Down 25 points in the first half, the Bulls rallied back to complete the largest comeback win in the NBA this season.
LaVine’s second-half effort (24 points) pushed him over 30 for the fifth time in six games. He outdueled Jerami Grant’s career-best 43 as the Bulls outscored Detroit 62-41 in the second half.
Though they have won three of their last four games, the 76ers will be a test for Chicago. Their overtime win over the Pacers on Monday was just Chicago’s second victory over a team above .500.
For the time being, the 76ers maintain the best record in the East. After their second three-game losing streak of the season, a 118-113 win over Houston has the train back on the tracks. Fortunately for 76ers’ fans, the team followed up their last three-game skid by winning nine of eleven.
During Philly’s losing streak, the Nets have rattled off four straight wins to put them within striking distance of the top seed.
Though the team runs through Joel Embiid, much of the 76ers’ success hinges on Ben Simmons being the team’s second-best player. The former #1 overall pick has led the team in assists 22 times in 29 games. He also poured in a career-high 42 in Monday’s loss at Utah. Oddly enough, that was the first time Simmons led the team in scoring in a game this year.
What to wager
It doesn’t mean as much in a fanless world; the Sixers, with their 12-2 record, sport the fewest home losses in the league. The Bulls are a better road team (7-6) than at the United Center (5-9). All things considered, we should be in for a very competitive game of basketball.
The Sixers are listed as nine-point favorites. That number appears to be right on the money. Philadelphia has won just one game by double digits in the month of February, but several games by 7-9. The Bulls have played several close games this year but have been blown out by the other top teams in the league.
Chicago has not played against many of the league’s best big men this year. When they have, there has been a mismatch down low just about every time. Anthony Davis dropped 37, Domantas Sabonis had an early-season triple-double, and Christian Wood had 30 on 11-of-16 shooting.
For those reasons, I will stay away from the team outcomes/totals and turn my attention to Embiid. His Points + Rebounds + Assists total is 45.5. He has eclipsed that number in five out of the last eight games and hit 45 in two of the other three. His point total is 31.5, and he has handled that number nine of the last 12 games.
Both of those plays are valuable. Give me either one.
The Picks: Embiid over 45.5 P/R/A (-110) or Embiid 31.5 points (-104)
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