Charlotte Bobcats at Chicago Bulls (-11.5, 180.5)
The Chicago Bulls’ slow start is far in the rearview mirror now that the defense is matching up with the offensive potential. The Bulls will look to push their winning streak to five straight when they host the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday. Chicago is allowing an average of 82 points in the last four contests and are coming off a 110-94 victory over previously-unbeaten Indiana on Saturday.
Derrick Rose returned from a one-game absence due to a hamstring injury and put together one of his best games of the season against the Pacers, knocking down six 3-pointers and handing out four assists without a turnover. The Bobcats just got finished with one Eastern Conference contender in a 97-81 home loss to the Miami Heat on Saturday and will get Indiana later this month. Charlotte is not quite as stout defensively as the Bulls but is in the top five in the NBA in scoring defense.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, SportsSouth (Charlotte), CSN Chicago
ABOUT THE BOBCATS (5-5): Charlotte has held all but two of its opponents under the century mark and limited the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers to an average of 81.5 points in its last two road games - both wins. Kemba Walker is the most consistent scorer for the Bobcats but is having a rough go of it lately, shooting 27.7 percent from the floor over the last five games. The former Connecticut star shot under 50 percent in each of his last eight contests.
ABOUT THE BULLS (5-3): Chicago looks like a title contender of late while scoring at least 96 points in each of its last four wins to go along with the solid defense. “The ball movement has been there all season,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “The ball is going in now, and when the ball goes in, it looks better.” The ball went in against Indiana, including 11-of-19 from 3-point range as the Bulls went over 100 points for the first time this season.
* Under is 5-0-1 in the last six meetings.
* Road team is 7-0 ATS in the last seven meetings.
* Bobcats are 4-0 ATS in their last four vs. NBA Central.
* Bulls are 1-4 ATS in their last five vs. NBA Southeast.
1. The Bulls have taken seven of the last eight in the series and posted a 105-75 triumph in the last meeting, Feb. 22, 2013.
2. Charlotte C Al Jefferson (ankle) missed the last two games and is questionable for Monday.
3. Chicago F Luol Deng is averaging 21 points on 16-of-29 shooting over the last two contests.