2017 NBA Playoffs
Eastern Conference First Round Game #6
#1 Boston Celtics at #8 Chicago Bulls
Celtics lead Best of Seven Series 3-2
Friday, April 28, 2017, 8:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
United Center – Chicago, Illinois
Opening Line: Boston Pick
Current Line: Boston -2 1/2
Opening Total: 204
Current Total: 203 1/2
Opening Money Line: Celtics -110 / Bulls -110
Current Money Line: Celtics -140 / Bulls +120
The Chicago Bulls won the first two games of the series against the Boston Celtics, but the Celtics have won three straight games to take control of the series. Boston won game five at home Wednesday night 108-97. Game five was the first time the home team had won a game in the series. The Celtics can close out the series in game six Friday night in Chicago. A Bulls win would force a game seven Sunday in Boston.
Boston is coached by Brad Stevens. The Celtics won the Atlantic Division at 53-29 by two games over the Toronto Raptors and are the #1 seed in the East. The Celtics are 43-42-2 ATS and the total is 42-41-4 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 44-43 ATS and the total is 34-52-1 this season.
Chicago won game one 106-102 and game two 111-97, both in Boston. Chicago point guard Rajon Rondo suffered a broken thumb in game two and hasn’t played since. Boston won game three 104-87 and game four 104-95, both in Chicago. The Celtics won game five Wednesday in Boston 108-97. The Celtics were 8 point favorites and the total was 203.5. Boston led 23-20 after the first, and 52-50 at halftime. Chicago took an 81-79 lead at the end of the third. The Bulls pulled to within 91-89 with 6:26 left in the fourth. However, the Celtics went on a 13-0 run and put the game away.
Chicago shot 37/74 from the field including 9/26 from three point range. The Bulls made 14/17 free throws. Chicago had 45 rebounds, 24 assists, 16 turnovers, 4 steals and 5 blocks. The Bulls had 4 fast break points and 42 points in the paint. Boston shot 38/88 from the field and 9/40 from three point range. The Celtics made all 23 free throws they attempted. Boston had 45 rebounds, 27 assists, 6 turnovers, 9 steals and 3 blocks. Boston had 12 fast break points and 56 points in the paint.
Isaiah Thomas had 24 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists for the Celtics. Avery Bradley had 24 points and 6 rebounds. Al Horford had 21 points, 9 assists and 7 rebounds. Kelly Olynyk had 14 points and 5 rebounds. Dwyane Wade had 26 points, 11 rebounds, and 8 assists for the Bulls. Jimmy Butler had 14 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists. Robin Lopez had 14 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocks. Isaiah Canaan had 13 points.
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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 in a car accident the day before the series started. 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. Brown is questionable with an illness.
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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 4-1 ATS in road games, 17-8-2 against teams with winning home records, 3-7 against teams with losing records, 2-6 after a double digit win, and 1-4 in Friday games. The favorite is 10-3 ATS in this series recently. The road team is 4-1 ATS in this series recently.
Chicago is 7-2 ATS after a straight up loss, 6-2 after failing to cover, 7-3 after allowing 100 points or more, 8-20 in Friday games, and 2-6 against teams with winning road records. The last five games between these teams in Chicago have gone under the total.
Chicago is not the same team without Rondo because they don’t have a true point guard. They have tried a piecemeal approach with Payne, Grant, Carter-Williams and Canaan but they haven’t found a solution. I like the Celtics to close it out and advance to the second round.