nba
28.02.2024

Cleveland Cavaliers @ Chicago Bulls Game Preview and Pick: Mitchell Exposes Chicago From Three

There are a few ways to gain momentum in the NBA. The easiest answer would be a winning streak, but I would say a half-court buzzer-beater to beat a fellow future playoff team is also a good answer. For the Cavaliers, that became a reality last night, thanks to Max Strus and heroics.

With two straight notches in the win column, Cleveland will be right back in action tonight when they take on the Bulls in Chicago. The Bulls have the opposite of positive momentum after their loss last night, so with that, I think Donovan Mitchell stands to have a big game.

Game Preview

If you follow basketball long enough, there is a good chance you’ll hear the phrase, “It’s the NBA, anything can happen on any given night.” While there is truth to that, it has felt like when teams lose to the Pistons this season, it’s a bit of a black eye on their resume. Well, not only did the Bulls lose to Detroit last night, but they lost by double digits and failed to break the 100-point mark.

Over the last two weeks, in which they’ve played four games, the Bulls rank 21st in the league in points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time, per Cleaning the Glass. Their struggling offense was on full display last night, with Nikola Vucevic, Demar DeRozan, and Andre Drummond combining for 70 of the team’s 95 points, as the Bulls shot just 40% from the field and 7% from beyond the arc.

The good thing about the NBA is Chicago has a quick turnaround to forget about that performance; the bad news for the Bulls is that they now need to play a Cavs team that held them to 105 points in their last meeting. While the Cavs did allow more than 110 points last night for just the third time in their last ten games, Max Strus and Donovan Mitchell took matters into their own hands by shooting a combined 14-21 from beyond the arc.

One of those threes for Max Strus came from right behind half-court as time was expiring to lift Cleveland to a 121-119 win over Dallas. Being able to score 38 points in the fourth quarter and over 120 for the game is a good sign for Cleveland since they have just barely been above the league average in terms of points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time over the past two weeks (113.8), per Cleaning the Glass.

Pick for the Game

While Max Strus took most of the shine last night, and deservedly so, the Cavs would not have been in the position they were in without Donovan Mitchell scoring 31 points. Mitchell has now eclipsed the 30-point mark in three of his last four games, and he is walking into a favorable matchup tonight, which is why I’ll be taking him to go over 3.5 threes. This number is widely available across most Illinois sports betting apps.

After knocking down seven threes last night, Mitchell has cleared his total tonight in six of his last ten games, and in that span, he is shooting 44.9% from deep on an average of 8.9 attempts per game. When Mitchell last played Chicago, he finished the game with 30 points, but he struggled from beyond the arc, going 2-8.

However, I don’t expect that to be the case tonight since the Bulls rank 30th in the league in average threes allowed per game (16.1) and 23rd in opponent three-point percentage (38.3%) over the last ten games. Not only should Mitchell be feeling himself tonight after knocking down seven threes last night, but he is the leader of an offensive system that ranks 10th in the league over the past ten games in percentage of points that are three-pointers (35.5%).

Recap

  • Donovan Mitchell Over 3.5 Threes (+104) on BetRivers

*odds subject to change

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