If you are a Chicago Bulls fan, you have to be thinking: "Here we go again!" Of course I'm talking about an injury to Derrick Rose. He was to have an MRI on his right knee Monday. Rose doesn't think it's anything serious, but at this point you almost have to expect it will be. He tore the medial meniscus in that right knee in November 2013 and then re-tore it in February 2015. And of course he tore the ACL in his left knee in April 2012. Rose has missed Chicago's past three games, but with a hamstring issue. The Bulls might honestly be better off without Rose at this point. By some metrics he has been one of the worst NBA regulars this season. Rose is averaging 14.1 points but shooting just .386 from the field overall and .246 from long range. Teams are playing off him and daring him to shoot jumpers. His knees are so shot that Rose is struggling to finish at the rim these days. Rose has a player efficiency rating of 10.61. That's 252nd in the league and one spot worse than Cleveland's James Jones, who barely even plays. It's really a shame as Rose could have gone down as one of the great point guards ever. Maybe this injury is nothing, but he's clearly never going to be the MVP player he once was.
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Knicks at Hawks (-8.5, 204.5)
Final meeting of the season between these two already. The Hawks won the first two but lost 111-97 at Madison Square Garden on Sunday. Arron Afflalo blew up with a season-high 38 points for New York. He was 14-for-17 overall and 7-for-8 from 3-point range. In the previous six games, he was just 20-for-63 from the field (32 percent). The Knicks are 8-17 when he scores fewer than 15 points and 8-2 when he scores 15 or more. Paul Millsap had 19 points, nine rebounds, six assists and five steals for the Hawks. Kyle Korver had 13 points and finally made a 3-pointer. He has been struggling in a big way from long range. He missed 21 straight before connecting in the second half. It was his first game scoring in double digits since Dec. 20.
Key trends: The favorite is 6-2 against the spread in the past eight meetings. The "over/under" is 4-0 in the past four.
Early lean: Hawks and over.
Bucks at Bulls (-7.5, 198)
This is the first of an NBA TV doubleheader and thus should have live betting at sportsbooks. Second of a back-to-back for Milwaukee as it hosted San Antonio on Monday. Giannis Antetokounmpo was going to play despite having some major dental work done Sunday. Chicago won a fourth straight on Sunday, 115-113 in Toronto. Jimmy Butler set a franchise record in scoring 40 points in a half, doing so in the second. Rather hard to believe Michael Jordan never did that; his high was 39 in 1989. Butler did it despite getting a stitch in his mouth after getting elbowed there in the second quarter. The Bulls seem to be adjusting to Coach Fred Hoiberg's offense as they have scored at least 100 points in seven straight. Rose thinks there's a chance he plays here but that obviously depends on the MRI. Right now he's a game-time decision. First meeting of the season between these teams. Bulls won three of four last regular season and then beat the Bucks in a chippy playoff series, clinching in six.
Key trends: The Bucks are 1-5 ATS in their past six in Chicago. The under is 8-2 in the past 10 meetings.
Early lean: Bulls and under.
Kings at Mavericks (-4.5, 213)
Sacramento was in Oklahoma City on Monday. The Kings just got back rookie center Willie Cauley-Stein from a long injury absence in a blowout of the Suns on Saturday. Dallas lost a second straight Saturday, 105-98 at home to New Orleans. The Mavs had won six straight at home in the series. Point guard Deron Williams wasn't able to play in the fourth quarter due to left hamstring tightness. He had just recently returned from missing four games with an issue in that hamstring. The Kings beat the visiting Mavs 112-98 in the first meeting this season. Dallas had won the previous six meetings. Don't expect a very warm welcome here for Kings point guard Rajon Rondo as he basically quit on Dallas last season. He and Coach Rick Carlisle were definitely not the best of friends.
Key trends: The home team is 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings. The under is 7-0 in the previous seven.
Early lean: Mavericks and under.
Warriors at Lakers (TBA)
The NBA TV nightcap. No surprise a TBA here because it's not clear if Steph Curry or Kobe Bryant will play. Golden State hosted Charlotte on Monday and Curry was questionable after he re-injured his shin in Saturday's overtime win over Denver. The Warriors are totally banged up. Leandro Barbosa and Festus Ezeli were both expected to sit again Monday. But the good news is that forward Harrison Barnes was looking good to play vs. the Hornets. He has been out since Dec. 27 with a sprained ankle. The Lakers are on a three-game winning streak, which I wasn't sure they would do this entire season. Although I wouldn't get too excited as that includes wins over sorry Philadelphia and free-falling Phoenix. Kobe has missed the past two with a shoulder injury and he's questionable. L.A. was slaughtered 111-77 at Golden State on Nov. 24 in the only meeting thus far. That was the Warriors' record 16th win to start the season. Curry had 24 points and nine assists. Kobe shot 1-for-14 for just four points, matching the worst shooting performance of his career in a game where he had at least one basket.
Key trends: Warriors are 8-3 in the past 11 meetings. The over is 4-1 in the past five.
Early lean: Have to wait on Curry and to a lesser extent Kobe.
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