The Chicago Bulls can redeem our NBA picks this Friday when they host the tired and weary Golden State Warriors.
Golden State Warriors vs. Chicago Bulls
Friday, January 14, 2022 – 07:30 PM EST at United Center
There are 48 minutes in a regulation NBA game, but Wednesday’s matchup between the Brooklyn Nets and Chicago Bulls was over at the 36-second mark. That’s when Bulls forward Derrick Jones Jr. hurt his right knee and had to be taken back to the locker room – he won’t return until February at the earliest. Final score: Brooklyn 138, Chicago 112, with the Nets cashing in as 1.5-point road faves and spoiling our most recent NBA pick.
Basketball is a team sport, of course, but the Jones injury hits Chicago (27-12 SU, 23-16 ATS) in a vulnerable spot; it might even be enough to make the Golden State Warriors the right choice for Friday’s tilt in the Windy City, now that they’ve opened as 3.5-point road dogs on the NBA odds boards at the best sportsbooks. There’s a bit of a problem for Golden State, though. They played the Milwaukee Bucks Thursday night, and things didn’t go so well for them.
The pain started early for the Dubs when Gary Payton II, who got the start in Draymond Green’s absence, had to leave the game in the middle of the first period after his back seized up. Payton has been one of the best Warriors this year, posting the second-best Box Plus/Minus on the team at plus-5.9 according to Basketball Reference. Without both him and Green on the floor, Golden State got hammered 118-99 as 1-point road faves.
This was also Klay Thompson’s third game back since his extended injury layoff, and it wasn’t great; Thompson scored 11 points on 3-of-11 shooting. He’s on a minutes restriction for now, so there’s only so much damage Thompson can do while he tries to get his sea legs back, but it’s probably going to take more than the requisite one or two games for him to get there.
Unfortunately for us, we can’t take advantage of Thompson’s weakness in this matchup – he was expected to sit Friday out, this being the second of back-to-back games. Taking the underrated Payton out of the lineup would still give Chicago some betting value, but we don’t know for sure at press time what his status is for this contest.
Plus, as we said, the Bulls are missing a starter of their own. Jones (plus-0.7 BPM) has been a stabilizing force for Chicago, playing all three frontcourt positions despite standing just 6-foot-5. His presence became even more important when Patrick Williams dislocated his wrist in late October. Less Jones means more Alfonzo McKinnie (minus-6.5 BPM), which won’t benefit Chicago supporters.
They’re still going in our NBA picks, though. The Warriors (31-11 SU, 23-16-2 ATS) have covered just once in six games since New Year’s Day, they’re playing on zero days of rest against the top seed in the Eastern Conference, and they might be without arguably their two best defenders in Green and Payton. Bet accordingly.
NBA Pick: Bulls –3 (–115) at DraftKings