Add 'Under' to NBA Picks as Nets Battle Bulls

Jason Lake

Wednesday, December 10, 2014 12:00 PM UTC

Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014 12:00 PM UTC

Derrick Rose is back in action for the Chicago Bulls, but he’s having a tough time of it lately. And Joakim Noah won’t play Wednesday when the Bulls host the Brooklyn Nets. Who do we add to our NBA picks?

Jason’s record as of Dec. 9: 15-14 ATS, 0-3 Totals

You know the drill by now. It’s the Chicago Bulls, and as we go to press, the NBA odds are on hold for tonight's matchup (8:00 p.m. ET, YES) with the Brooklyn Nets. But this time, it could be either team that’s to blame for muddying the waters. Both Chicago (12-8 SU, 8-12 ATS) and Brooklyn (8-11 SU and ATS) have some injuries that have to be sorted out before the lines get published.

Gibson D. Martini
Actually, we know for sure now that Joakim Noah (plus-3.5 BPM, all on defense) is out for Chicago with bad ankles. He was downgraded from “questionable” after sitting out Tuesday’s practice. Noah has missed three games for the Bulls this year; they’re 2-1 SU and 1-2 ATS in his absence.

Taj Gibson (plus-1.2 BPM) is back from his latest ankle sprain, so he’s expected to join the starting lineup on Wednesday. We’ll also presumable see Nikola Mirotic (plus-1.2 BPM) get some extended minutes off the bench. Mirotic has improved by leaps and bounds since the season began, fulfilling some of the promise he showed in Euroleague play.

Don’t Be a Lemon
Unfortunately for the Bulls, Derrick Rose (plus-0.2 BPM) has regressed since rejoining the lineup after missing eight games in November with hamstring issues. Let’s compare his numbers from November to December – warning, small sample sizes ahead.

Rose in November (seven games): 102 ORtg, 103 DRtg, plus-16.7
Rose in December (three games): 91 Otrg, 117 DRtg, minus-10.7

That’s not good. Rose has fallen off the shelf at both ends of the floor; the Bulls are 4-3 SU and 3-4 ATS since his return, capped off by Saturday’s 112-102 loss to the Golden State Warriors (–2.5 away), where Rose was 2-of-11 for nine points and a team-worst minus-19. Hamstring injuries are tricky things. Maybe he should take a maintenance day or two, but that will be difficult for the Bulls to manage while Noah is out of commission.

We’re Out of Joe
As for the Nets, they just ran into an injury bug the size of Grimaldi’s. Brook Lopez (minus-2.7 BPM), who’s level of play hasn’t come close to that of recent years, was held out of Monday’s 110-88 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers (–8 away) with a strained back. After an MRI, it was decided Lopez would miss the next week of action.

Mirza Teletovic (plus-0.5 BPM) started against Cleveland in place of Lopez, but he suffered a hip pointer and got his face cut up for four stiches. He’s considered questionable for Brooklyn on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Joe Johnson (plus-0.5 BPM) has been ruled out for the second straight game with flu-like symptoms. Alan Anderson (minus-3.7 BPM) will start again in Johnson’s place.

Bridge for Sale
The Nets might have an ulterior motive for keeping Lopez and Johnson off the court. Both players have been put on the trading block, along with Deron Williams (plus-1.3 BPM), as team management has apparently decided to cut its league-high payroll. ESPN says there isn’t an immediate deal in the works for any of the three men in question; they all carry massive contracts, so finding three separate and willing trade partners might take a while.

Since Brooklyn was happy to tell us these are lame-duck players, we’ll be more than happy to fade the Nets, unless and until something happens to change our minds. The Rose situation in Chicago might be one of those things. Since both teams appear overvalued at this point, we’re going to recommend for our NBA pick the UNDER, which is 7-1 in Brooklyn’s last eight games. Keep an eye out for fresh basketball odds, and may the sphere be with you.

Free NBA Pick: Take the UNDER

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