Houston Rockets vs. Chicago Bulls
NBA Basketball: Friday, December 11, 2020 at 8:00 pm (United Center)
The Line: Chicago Bulls +1 -- Over/Under: Click to Get Latest Betting Odds
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The Houston Rockets and Chicago Bulls meet Friday in preseason NBA action at the United Center.
The Houston Rockets will play for the first time since losing four straight to the Lakers in the NBA semifinals, and they enter the preseason with serious question marks. The Rockets have a new head coach in Stephen Silas, they swapped Russell Westbrook for John Wall, and James Harden has indicated he wants a trade. Harden also can’t rejoin the team until he has six straight negative COVID-19 tests, so his preseason reps may be very limited. The Rockets should have a new system under Silas, and getting Wall comfortable with his new team is key. Wall hasn’t played in two years and will need to prove he’s back up to speed. The Harden issues also open up potential playing time for lower rotation players.
The Chicago Bulls haven’t played since March 10, so it’s going to be interesting to see what they look like after such a long layoff. The Bulls return pretty much the same roster as last season, but they have a new coach coach in Billy Donovan. We just saw Donovan make magic happen with the OKC Thunder, and now he has a similar team in the Bulls given the youth. The progress of Coby White, Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. will go a long way to determining how successful the Bulls can be this season. Preseason will be key for the Bulls. Denzel Valentine is day-to-day with a hamstring injury and Garrett Temple is dealing with COVID-19.
The Rockets are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 road games and 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games overall. The Bulls are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 home games and 0-7 ATS in their last 7 Friday games. The under is 7-1 in Rockets last 8 overall. The under is 4-1 in Bulls last 5 overall. The Rockets are 5-1 ATS in the last 6 meetings.
The Houston Rockets have a new head coach, lost their starting point guard and have this Harden cloud hanging over them. The Rockets aren't a team I'm looking to back right now until the dust settles a bit. The Chicago Bulls are obviously dealing with a new head coach of their own, but they should be eager to get back on the court for the first time since March, and they have a ton of young guys who can earn playing time by balling in these exhibitions. I'll take a shot with the Bulls in this spot.