Chicago Bulls vs. Portland Trail Blazers - 12/12/14 NBA Pick, Odds, and Prediction
Portland Trail Blazers (17-5) at Chicago Bulls (13-8)
NBA Basketball: Friday, December 12, 2014 at 7:00 pm (United Center)
The Line: Chicago Bulls -1 -- Over/Under: 198 See the Latest Odds
The Chicago Bulls host the Portland Trail Blazers in a showdown of contenders from opposite conferences on ESPN.
USA TODAY Sports
The Portland Trail Blazers are 17-5 on the year with an impressive mark of 7-3 away from home. One of those three road losses came in Portland’s most recent outing, as the team fell in Minnesota to a subpar Timberwolves team. Despite the recent hiccup, the Blazers will be optimistic about bouncing back in this spot while also trying to prove themselves as legitimate contenders in an ESPN spotlight game. The Blazers rank 12th in the league while scoring 102.2 points per game and are first in the league in rebounding with 46.9 per game. Leading the charge for Portland have been PF LaMarcus Aldridge with 21.7 points and 9.9 rebounds per game, PG Damian Lillard with 19.8 points, 6.2 assists and 5.1 rebounds per game, and Wesley Matthews with 17.1 points per game. Defensively, the Blazers rank 5th in the league allowing just 95.3 points per game as SF Nicholas Batum helps the starting rotation lock down the perimeter.
The Chicago Bulls are 13-8 on the year but have yet to develop a strong home court edge sitting at just 3-5 to start the year. The Bulls have lost twice to Western conference opponents in their last three home games, falling to the Mavericks in OT and the Warriors. Chicago ranks 10th in the league while scoring 102.7 points per game but really this Chicago team is on a different level when Derrick Rose suits up. Rose has played in eight consecutive games and finally looks to be on track health-wise, as he enters this game averaging 16.2 points, 5.1 assists and 3.2 rebounds per game. SG Jimmy Butler actually leads the team in scoring with 21.5 points per game to go along with 5.5 rebounds, and PF Pau Gasol has proven a valuable acquisition with 19.8 points and 12.2 rebounds per game. The addition of Gasol has been especially valuable considering that Joakim Noah hasn’t really been in peak form and is expected to miss this contest with ankle injuries. Defensively, the Bulls aren’t as sharp as they’d typically like to be ranking 14th in the league while allowing 99.5 points per game.
I almost always give the edge to the West and with the Bulls underperforming at home this year I’m not going to deviate from that strategy here. Look for the Blazers to continue their impressive stretch on the road.