Times are tense for the Los Angeles Lakers. A Yahoo! Sports story on Monday suggested that the Lakers might fire head coach Luke Walton if the team can’t beat the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday. Normally, beating a Bulls team that’s lost seven in a row and has just 10 wins should be a given. However, the Lakers have been a mess of late and are fresh off a humiliating loss. On Sunday, they fell at home to the worst team in the Eastern Conference, the Cleveland Cavaliers. Add in a recent loss at home to the Knicks and Walton might be a goner if the Lakers lose to another one of the league’s worst teams.
NBA Point Spread and Betting Analysis
Almost all of the stats are ugly for the Bulls. They have lost eight straight and they are 5-16 straight up on the road. Chicago is 3-7 against the spread (ATS) in their last 10 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game and 3-11-1 ATS in the last 15 against teams from the NBA Pacific Division. The Bulls are 1-4 ATS in their last five games against the Western Conference.
The Lakers are 14-9 straight up at home but have covered in just nine of those games. They are 4-10 ATS in non-conference games and 7-16 ATS when facing a team with a losing record. That’s ugly.
The Bulls have lost each of their last seven, giving up at least 117 points in four of those games. This team has a listless defence which cannot stop anybody. Although they allow 111.0 points per game on the season (17th), they’ve allowed an average of 126.7 in their last three. That includes a beat down at the hands of the Golden State Warriors, who scored 146 points against this team.
The Bulls have looked utterly lost since coach Jim Boylen took over the team from recently fired head coach Fred Hoiberg. The players don’t like his style and have had run-ins with him. Oddly enough, though the front office just gave Boylen an extension and a raise. The team is just 5-14 under Boylen.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers are without LeBron James right now but they can’t pin all of their issues on his absence. They were 17-10 at one point this season and are just 6-13 since. He’s been out since Christmas Day but the Lakers decline started while he was still there. More recently, this team has dropped five of their last seven and seven of 10.
The Lakers offence has completely disappeared without James in the lineup as they’re averaging just 107.3 points per game over their last 15 contests (23rd in the NBA). That’s a huge dip from the 121.0 they averaged in October (third in the NBA).
The concern is that this is a really disjointed roster and players aren’t developing. Kyle Kuzma is playing great but Lonzo Ball is contributing just 9.4 points per game while shooting 36.2% from the field this month. JaVale McGee averaged 15.5 points per game in October but is down to just 8.4 in January. And Brandon Ingram is still a bit inconsistent as he’s scored 17 or more four times this month but scored 15 or less in the other three games. Add in that Josh Hart has just 17 points in total in the last three games and a lot of the fingers start pointing towards Walton that he can’t develop the young players on this roster. The good news is that the Bulls are a bigger mess and the Lakers should take care of business in this spot.