NBA FREE Play - Merry Christmas From Jesse Schule

Jesse Schule | Dec 25, 2012 | ARCHIVE

This is a FREE play on HOU@CHI to go UNDER the total.

The Bulls are still missing superstar PG Derrick Rose, but they have managed to start the season with a 15-11 record, sitting just 4.5 games back of the Heat in the Eastern Conference. Chicago is one of the top defensive teams in the NBA, and they will host the league's highest scoring offense on Christmas day when they take on the Houston Rockets. The Rockets have won 3 straight, including a 121-96 blowout over Memphis on Saturday.

Chicago lost to the Rockets when these teams played in Houston earlier this season, however they did slow the pace of the game, keeping the Rockets below 100 points, losing 93-89. While Houston averages a league leading 105.4 point per game, they don't score as many points on the road as they do at home. The Rockets have failed to reach 100 points in four of their last five games away from Houston, and each of their last three road games has gone under.

The Bulls on the other hand have seen the total go under in three of their last four home games, and they are only allowing an average of 88.3 points per game in Chicago (2nd lowest in the NBA). The listed total for this Christmas Day matchup is in fact higher than the combined points in any of Chicago's previous home games this season.

The Bulls are coming off one of their worst performances this season, only managing 75 points in a 92-75 loss at Atlanta. With the game out of reach, coach Tom Thibodeux rested his starters in the fourth quarter. That was on the back end of a back to back after upsetting the Knicks in New York by a score of 110-106 on Friday.

"Tough loss. The highs and lows of this thing are unbelievable," said Joakim Noah. "One night you feel great because you won a big game, and then the next night you come out with the wrong mindset and you lose."

Win or lose, Chicago should be much better here tonight, coming off a couple days of rest.

Take the UNDER.

GL

Jesse Schule