2017 NBA Playoffs
Eastern Conference First Round Game #4
#1 Boston Celtics at #8 Chicago Bulls
Bulls lead Best of Seven Series 2-1
Sunday, April 23, 2017, 6:30 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
United Center – Chicago, Illinois
Opening Line: Boston -2
Current Line: Boston -2 1/2
Opening Total: 204
Current Total: 204
Opening Money Line: Celtics -140 / Bulls +120
Current Money Line: Celtics -145 / Bulls +125
The #8 seed Chicago Bulls won the first two games on the road against the #1 seed Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference first round. However, point guard Rajon Rondo, who spent several seasons with the Celtics, suffered a broken thumb in game two and is out indefinitely. The Celtics got back into the series with a win in game three Friday in Chicago. The teams play game four Sunday, also in Chicago.
Boston is coached by Brad Stevens. The Celtics won the Atlantic Division at 53-29 by two games over the Toronto Raptors. The Celtics are 41-42-2 ATS and the total is 41-40-4 this season.
Chicago is coached by Fred Hoiberg. The Bulls finished fourth in the Central Division at 41-41 and won a tiebreaker over the Miami Heat for the last playoff spot in the East. The Bulls are 44-41 ATS and the total is 33-51-1 this season.
Chicago won game one 106-102 and game two 111-97. Boston got back into the series with a 104-87 win in game three. The Celtics were 2.5 point favorites and the total was 205.5. The Celtics jumped out to a 33-15 lead in the first, but Chicago would only trail 44-41 at halftime. The Celtics would out score the Bulls by ten in the third quarter and then cruise to a 17 point win.
The Celtics shot 41/86 from the field including 17/37 from three point range. Boston made five of seven free throws. The Celtics had 43 rebounds, 34 assists, 13 turnovers, 11 steals and 2 blocks. Boston had 9 fast break points and 44 points in the paint. Chicago shot 33/84 from the field including 6/21 from three point range. The Bulls made all 15 free throws attempted. Chicago had 55 rebounds, 14 rebounds, 18 assists, 7 steals and 8 blocks. The Bulls had 11 fast break and 44 points in the paint.
Al Horford had 18 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, and 4 steals for the Celtics. Isaiah Thomas had 16 points, 9 assists and 2 rebounds. Jae Crowder had 16 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists. Avery Bradley had 15 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 steals. Dwyane Wade had 18 points, 3 assists, and 2 steals for the Bulls. Jimmy Butler had 14 points, and 7 rebounds. Robin Lopez had 12 points and 6 rebounds. Nikola Mirotic had 11 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.
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Boston is outscoring teams 108-105 this season. The Celtics are #7 in scoring. Boston is shooting 45.4% from the field and 35.9% from 3 point range. Boston make 80.7% of their free throws and are #3 in that category. Opponents are shooting 45% from the field and 33.2% from 3 point range. The Celtics are #2 in 3 point defense and #9 in field goal defense. Boston averages 42 rebounds per game and opponents average 44.5 per game. The Celtics are #25 or worse in both categories. Boston averages 24.4 assists, 13.2 turnovers, 8.2 steals and 3.5 blocks per game.
Isaiah Thomas averages 28.9 points, 2.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game. The MVP candidate is still grieving after the loss of his sister last week. Avery Bradley averages 16.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.2 steals per game. Al Horford averages 14 points, 6.8 rebounds, 5 assists and 1.3 blocks per game. Jae Crowder averages 13.9 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. Marcus Smart averages 10.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.6 steals per game. Kelly Olynyk averages 9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2 assists per game. Jaylen Brown, Amir Johnson, Gerald Green, Terry Rozier, Jonas Jerebko, and Tyler Zeller will also get minutes in the rotation.
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Chicago is outscoring teams 103-102. The Bulls are #6 in points allowed and #23 in scoring this season. Chicago is shooting 44.4% from the field and 34% from 3 point range. The Bulls are #24 or worse in both categories. The Bulls are #6 in free throw shooting at 79.8% from the line. Opponents are shooting 45.6% from the field and 34.4% from 3 point range. The Bulls are #6 in three point defense. Chicago averages 46.3 rebounds per game and opponents average 43.2 per game. The Bulls are #3 in rebounding. Chicago averages 22.6 assists, 13 turnovers, 7.8 steals and 4.8 blocks per game.
Jimmy Butler averages 23.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 1.9 steals per game. Dwyane Wade averages 18.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.4 steals per game. Nikola Mirotic averages 10.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game. Robin Lopez averages 10.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1 assist and 1.4 blocks per game. Rajon Rondo averages 7.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 1.4 steals per game. He is out indefinitely with a broken thumb. Bobby Portis, Michael Carter-Williams, Jerian Grant, Paul Zipser, Denzel Valentine, and Cameron Payne will also get minutes in the rotation.
Boston is 4-9 ATS overall, 3-8 after scoring 100 points, 2-6 after a straight up win, 1-4 in first round games, 1-6 after a double digit win, and 0-4 after a cover. The favorite is 8-3 ATS in this series recently. The under is 5-2 overall in this series and 4-0 in Chicago.
Chicago is 7-0 ATS after a straight up loss, 6-0 after failing to cover, 7-1 after allowing 100 points or more, 4-1 overall, against Eastern Conference teams and on one day rest, 7-2 against teams with winning records, 8-3 in Sunday games, 5-2 after a double digit home loss, and 2-5 against teams with winning road records.
I think the Rondo injury shocked the Bulls and they did not come out ready to play. Still, they can take a commanding 3-1 lead with a win at home. I don’t think it will be easy, but I do like the Bulls to win a close game.