Thursday nights on TNT on Tuesday nights continues to be a thing, and the night’s first matchup is not exactly the barnburner the schedule makers thought they were getting. The Chicago Bulls seem to be what every skeptic assumed — a cute story good but not good enough team after their flurry of acquisitions a couple years ago. Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets are what everyone feared or hoped for — an absolute trash fire of a team suffering through a trash fire of a season.
In the nightcap, the Minnesota Timberwolves have not been that dangerous offense-defense mix that can punish you on both ends of the floor. They are among the worst defensive rebounding teams in the league, and they are not hitting their outside shots. They face a Suns team that many were ready to throw dirt on, but are somehow making it all work despite some drama behind the scenes and in the locker room.
Bulls vs. Nets
When: 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York
Odds: Bulls +2
Timberwolves vs. Suns
When: 10 p.m. ET
Where: Footprint Center, Phoenix, Arizona
Odds: Wolves +3.5
Chicago Bulls (3-4)
Ayo Dosunmu, Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Patrick Williams, Nikola Vucevic
Brooklyn Nets (2-5)
Kyrie Irving, Royce O’Neale, Joe Harris Kevin Durant, Nic Claxton
Minnesota Timberwolves (4-3)
DeAngelo Russell, Anthony Edwards, Jaden McDaniels, Karl-Anthony Towns, Rudy Gobert
Phoenix Suns (5-1)
Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Bismack Biyombo
It is early in the season, but already some of these lineups are playing musical chairs with their rotations due to injury and ineffectiveness. First, the good news. Zach LaVine is playing tonight, but is expected to sit the next game as the team manages some knee discomfort. He is averaging 22.3 points on a team in the bottom 10 in offensive efficiency, so they need every bit of what he can provide on that end.
In news that might be good depending on who you ask, the Brooklyn Nets played last game starting Joe Harris in place of Ben Simmons. Harris scored just seven points in his first start of the season, but it’s not like things were any better with Simmons. He has made a total of seven free throws in six games, and shooting less than six times per game. The Nets held him out of Brooklyn’s win against the Pacers with a knee issue, and it’s unclear when he will return to the lineup.
The Suns are also bitten by the injury bug, with Deandre Ayton missing time with an ankle sprain. Bismack Biyombo will start at center in his place and the team won’t ask him to do much but rebound.
With Ayton out of the lineup, Devin Booker got up a season-high 24 shots. Granted, that was against the Houston Rockets, but I would expect that to continue while Ayton misses time. With the Wolves giving up the most offensive boards in league, the Suns at home, and being able to lean even more heavily into a Booker-Paul offensive attack, I am confident in betting the Suns despite giving Minny 3.5 points, per DraftKings. Also, the Nets are a shambles, the national TV scrutiny is going to be all over Kyrie Irving for reasons I don’t want to belabor, and it feels like it could be an ultimate Brooklyn meltdown game. Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking. The Bulls are getting two points, but they could easily win or lose by 25. I’m going for a Chicago victory, but your mileage may vary.
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