It's story time, boys and girls, and tonight's tale is about some Bulls who traveled south to New Orleans for a Friday night NBA odds matchup against the Pelicans.
Once upon a time, there were some Bulls who lived in a place called Chicago, which is an old Indian word for wild garlic. They had once been the mightiest herd of all the NBA beasts, but that was many years before and recently they had been more of an afterthought in the pro basketball food chain than a contender.
Now the winters could be brutal in Chicago, and that was certainly the case when our story takes place. Following yet another blast of frigid temperatures and heavy snow, the herd decided it was time to head south in search of warmer climes and greener pastures.
And so it was they set a course for a land called New Orleans where a colony of Pelicans ruled. These Pelicans were on the rise in the NBA animal kingdom, and when they learned that the Bulls were on the way to take their home, it angered the great-beaked birds.
A great battle was imminent, and it was decided the two would clash at 7 PM (ET) on the first Saturday of the month of February. Debate ensued as to which side would prove strongest, and many wondered just how these two species would interact. A group of scientists called NBA odds makers believed they knew the outcome before it started, listing the Bulls as 2-2½ point favorites on the NBA betting odds where a 196½ point total was also showing up.
Epic Encounter Had Been Witnessed Before
One reason the Bulls decided on going to New Orleans was they remembered the very recent attempt by the Pelicans to invade and conquer Chicago. The skirmish had taken place only about six weeks earlier when the Pelicans thought they could swoop into the Lake Michigan area and do a little fishing.
The Chicago herd repelled the invasion, however, though their 107-100 victory was not as great as the odds predicted. The Bull known as Jimmy Butler proved greatest of them all in the fight, scoring 33 points to help the final score get past a 201½ total.
This was also not the first time the herd had migrated south to New Orleans, nor was it expected to be the last. Almost exactly one year earlier, the Bulls landed in the Crescent City and were promptly turned back by the Pelicans, 88-79. Thought to be a very even match at the time, the short fight never made it to a 182½ total.
Dunleavy, Holiday Among Wounded Warriors
During their journey to meet the Pelicans, Chicago (30-20 straight up, 22-28 against the spread) made four stops along the way, the first two along the Pacific Coast and followed by layovers in the great Arizona desert and upper-Texas coast. The clash at Golden State had been triumphant, but three defeats followed to the inhabitants of Los Angeles, Phoenix and Houston.
The Bulls were forced to engage each of those enemies without one of their key soldiers, Mike Dunleavy, who was suffering from strained ligaments in his right ankle and left behind to stand guard in Chicago.
New Orleans (27-23, 29-20-1) was also going to have take on the Bulls minus a key member of the colony. The Pelican known as Jrue Holiday was dealing with a stress fracture in his leg, near where the ankle connected to his right webbed foot.
Sadly, this fairy tale has no happy ending. That's because I know a helluva' lot more about children's books than I do the NBA, which is to say any gambler who uses this preview to make a decision how to play tonight's contest is simply playing Russian roulette with a half-full chamber.
Nonetheless, I'm going to make a free NBA pick for the matchup, and that will be to take the points on the home side.
NBA Pick: New Orleans +2.5 at 5Dimes