Bulls Push On Without Rose Against 76ers In Game #2 Of Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

2012 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game #2
#8 Philadelphia 76ers at #1 Chicago Bulls
Chicago Leads Series 1-0
Best of Seven Series, Format 2-2-1-1-1
United Center – Chicago, Illinois

Tuesday, May 1, 2012, 8:05 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
Opening Line: Chicago -5 1/2
Current Line: Chicago -6 1/2
Opening Total: 176
Current Total: 176
Opening Money Line: Bulls -275 / 76ers +235
Current Money Line: Bulls -280 / 76ers +240

Joakim Noah and the Bulls will be without All-star Derrick Rose who is out for the playoffs with a torn ACL. The Bulls are 6.5 point favorites at home against the 76ers in game #2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.

Two seconds. That is all it took for the Chicago Bull’s title prospects to change drastically for the worse. With just over a minute left in Chicago’s game #1 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers, the Bulls were up by 11. Last Year’s MVP Derrick Rose missed a jump shot and then jumped up for a pass. He landed awkwardly and was writhing in pain on the court. He had to be helped to the locker room.  MRI’s later revealed Bull’s fans worst nightmare, a torn ACL in his left knee. He is gone for the rest of the playoffs, and likely part of next year.

Some criticized Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau for keeping Rose in when the game was already decided. Honestly, though an 11 point lead with just over a minute to go isn’t insurmountable. The Clippers overcame a similar deficit in their comeback win Sunday night in Memphis. Rose also had 23 points, 9 rebounds, and 9 assists. So the fact that he was that close to a triple double might have contributed to him remaining in the game. The Bulls held on for the 103-91 win.

The Bulls have had experience this season playing without Rose, who missed 27 games this season due to various injuries. The Bulls were 18-9 in those games, part of the reason they tied with San Antonio for the league’s best record at 50-16. However, without Rose the Bulls scored 8 points less per game. Chicago will have to depend more on Luol Deng, Richard Hamilton, and Carlos Boozer for scoring to replace Rose. C.J. Watson and John Lucas III will split time at point guard. Both played well during the regular season in the games Rose missed.

Hamilton scored 19 points in the game #1 win, and Deng added 17. Joakim Noah added 12 points and 13 rebounds. Korver added 11 points, and Boozer had 9 points. The Bulls shot 51.3% from the field including 6-14 from the field. Chicago was 17-24 from the free throw line.

Philadelphia, coached by Doug Collins, finished 35-31 this season, and got the #8 seed in the playoffs. Chicago won the regular season series 2-1.

In the game #1 loss Philadelphia had 5 players in double digit scoring. Elton Brand had 19 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 blocks. Point guard Jrue Holiday added 16 points. Forward Andre Iguodala scored 11 points. Thaddeus Yong added 13 points, and Evan Turner added 12 points, both off the bench. The Sixers shot 39.8% from the field, including just 1-9 from 3 point range. Philly made 24 out of 31 free throw attempts.

Chicago is 38-27-1 ATS this season and the total is 31-34-1. Philadelphia is 33-32-1 ATS and the total is 30-36 this season. The over is 12-4-1 in this series recently. The 76ers are 4-1 ATS in road games, overall, against eastern Conference teams, and one 1 day rest, 10-4 after allowing 100 points or more, 7-3 as a playoff underdog, 4-9 as an underdog overall, and in road games against teams with winning home records, 2-6 after a straight up loss, and after a straight up loss of 10 points or more, and  7-21 against teams with winning records. The Bulls are 4-0 ATS as a favorite, and on one 1 day rest, 4-1-1 at home, and as a home favorite, 4-1 against teams with winning records, and overall, 3-1-1 as a playoff favorite of 5-10.5 points, and at home against teams with losing road records, 11-5-1 against Eastern Conference teams, and 0-4 after scoring 100 points or more.

Chicago could react one of two ways without Rose. Either they band together and crush an inferior opponent, or they might come out sluggish and let the Sixers hang around. I think with as many games as Chicago has played without Rose, the latter probably won’t happen. Noah, Deng, Hamilton, and Boozer are all all-star quality players (or were at some point in their careers.) I like the Bulls tonight to cover and take a 2-0 lead.

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