Down 3-1 In The Series, Bulls Return Home Against 76ers
2012 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Quarterfinals Game #5
#8 Philadelphia 76ers at #1 Chicago Bulls
Best of Seven Series, Format 2-2-1-1-1
76ers lead series 3-1
United Center – Chicago, Illinois
Tuesday, May 8, 2012, 9:35 pm Eastern, TV: NBA TV
Opening Line: Chicago -4 1/2
Current Line: Chicago -5
Opening Total: 171 1/2
Current Total: 171 1/2
Opening Money Line: Bulls -215 / 76ers +185
Current Money Line: Bulls -220 / 76ers +190
Only four times in league history has a #8 seed beaten a #1 seed in the NBA playoffs. It could happen again this year as the Philadelphia 76ers hold a commanding 3-1 lead over the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Of course, Chicago isn’t really the team that tied with San Antonio for the best record in the league. Last year’s NBA MVP Derrick Rose tore his ACL in the Bull’s 103-91 game 1 win. Since then the Bulls have lost 3 straight games 109-92 in Chicago, 79-74 in game 3, and 89-82 Sunday in game 4 in Philadelphia. In game 3, Bulls forward Joakim Noah sprained his ankle. He missed game 4 and will be out tonight as well for game 5.
The Philadelphia 76ers, coached by Doug Collins, can advance to the next round with a win tonight. In the game 4 win, Center Spencer Hawes had 22 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 blocks. Point guard Jrue Holiday struggled going 7-23 from the field, but he made two huge three pointers late in the game to turn a one point game into a 7 point game. He finished with 20 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists. Andre Igoudala had 14 points 12 rebounds, and 3 steals. As a team The Sixers shot 39.2% (31-79) from the field including 5-19 from 3 point range. They made 22 of 31 free throws. The 76ers had 46 rebounds, 16 assists, and 8 turnovers. Philadelphia had 10 fast break points, and 30 points in the paint.
The Bulls are coached by Tom Thibodeau. In the game 4 loss, Carlos Boozer led all scorers with 23 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals. Point guard C.J. Watson had 17 points 6 rebounds and 4 assists. He and John Lucas are splitting time at the point to replace Rose. Taj Gibson had 14 points, 12 rebounds, and 4 blocks. Luol Deng had 11 points and 5 rebounds. Richard Hamilton struggled with only 7 points on 3 for 9 shooting. The Bulls shot 40% (34-85) from the field including 3 for 11 from 3 point range. Chicago made 11 of 14 free throws. The Bulls had 48 rebounds, 21 assists, and 14 rebounds. Chicago scored 11 fast break points, and had 26 points in the paint.
Philadelphia is 36-33-1 ATS this season and the total is 32-39 this season. Chicago is 39-30-1 ATS and the total is 33-36-1 this season. The over is 14-6-1 in this series recently, including 7-3 in Chicago. The favorite is 5-1 ATS in the last six in this series, and the home team is 4-1.
The 76ers are 5-1 ATS in Tuesday games, after a straight up win, in conference quarterfinal games, and after a cover, 7-2 overall, and against Eastern Conference, 6-2 against Central division teams, 5-2 in road games and on 1 day rest, and 7-19 against teams with winning records.
The Bulls are 5-1 ATS as a favorite, and on 1 day rest, 3-1-1 as a home favorite of 5-10.5 points, 5-2-1 at home, and as a home favorite, 38-16-2 after a straight up loss, 16-7 in Tuesday games, and 2-5-1 against Atlantic division teams.
Even though Chicago was 18-9 during the regular season in games Rose missed, they have struggled mightily to score in this series. The Bulls have only averaged 83 points a game in the three games since Rose went down, despite averaging 96 points a game during the regular season. Granted playoff basketball makes it tougher to score because the defensive intensity is ratcheted up. Facing elimination, Chicago must find an answer to their offensive woes quickly or this series is over. I think the Bulls win tonight to extend the series and at least go back to Philly for game 6.
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