Philadelphia 76ers at Chicago Bulls, United Center, Chicago, IL
Monday, March 28, 2011, 8:00 pm Eastern, TV: CSP, WCIU
Opening Line: Bulls -10
Current Line: Bulls -10
Opening Total: 192
Current Total: 191.5
Money Line: Bulls -500 / 76ers +400
The Chicago Bulls (53-19) will go for their 15th straight home win on Monday at the United Center and try to beat the Philadelphia 76ers (37-36) there for the fifth time in row as both teams continue to battle for playoff positioning. The Bulls (-10) are two games ahead of the Boston Celtics for the top seed in the Eastern Conference while the 76ers trail Atlanta by 4.5 games for the fifth spot.
That is significant for Philadelphia considering the teams in the last three spots will have to face either Chicago, Boston or Miami in the first round of the playoffs. The Sixers are also two games ahead of New York and 6.5 ahead of Indiana despite losing their last two games and three of four.
Philly is coming off a 114-111 home loss to Sacramento in overtime on Sunday, the fourth straight game the team has failed to cover the spread. Defense has been a primary concern for head coach Doug Collins, who has done a great job getting the 76ers back in contention for the playoffs after starting the season at 17-25. They have surrendered an average of nearly 109 points in their last four games with the total going OVER in each of them.
The Bulls have seen their last five games all sail OVER the total following a 95-87 victory at Milwaukee on Saturday. They are averaging nearly 110 points during that stretch but have still held opponents to an average of 89 in their past four, beating the line three times. The exception was a 99-96 win over Memphis on Friday. Chicago is 22-8 against the spread this season when playing on one day of rest, which should be just enough time for Derrick Rose to recharge his battery.
Rose enjoyed one of his most efficient games of the season against the Bucks even though he missed all three of his 3-point attempts. Take those away, and he made 9 of 14 from the field on 2-point baskets and 12 of 12 from the free-throw line while dishing out a career-high 17 assists.
Philadelphia beat the Bulls 105-99 in the last meeting between the teams on January 7, which followed a 121-76 loss in the last visit to Chicago on December 21. The 76ers have lost their last two games in the Windy City by a combined 77 points, and the OVER is 7-2 in the past nine meetings overall.
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