Chicago Bulls at Milwaukee Bucks, Bradley Center, Milwaukee, WI
Saturday, March 26, 2011, 8:30 pm Eastern, TV: WGN
Opening Line: Bulls -5.5
Current Line: Bulls -5.5
Opening Total: 177
Current Total: 177.5
Money Line: Bulls -240 / Bucks +190
The Chicago Bulls (52-19) hit the road with a two-game lead atop the Eastern Conference standings and will try to beat a Central Division opponent for the 13th time in 14 attempts this season when they visit the Milwaukee Bucks (29-42) on Saturday. The Bulls (-5.5) have won 11 of their last 12 games overall along with 18 of 21 after edging Memphis 99-96 and face a Milwaukee team also coming off a 102-96 victory at New York on Friday.
The Bucks are making a push for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East as well, sitting just two games behind Indiana after they beat the Knicks and the Pacers lost at home to Sacramento. Second-year point guard Brandon Jennings scored a season-high 37 points while Andrew Bogut added 21 points and a game-high 17 rebounds. Jennings scored just four points against Chicago in the last meeting at home on February 26, resulting in an 83-75 loss.
The term “home” should be used loosely though in regards to Milwaukee since thousands of Bulls fans make the trip North to watch their team play. Chicago has won the last three games with the Bucks both straight-up and against the spread after losing the previous three in the series, which has also been extremely low-scoring over the last two seasons. The UNDER has cashed in the last five meetings.
Former Bulls head coach Scott Skiles has turned Milwaukee into a defensive-oriented team while Chicago’s new head coach Tom Thibodeau has taken that to another level in his first year there after serving as the architect of Boston’s defense. The Bulls rank second in fewest points allowed per game with 91.1 and first in defensive field-goal percentage at 42.8.
Chicago has given up more than 100 points to only one opponent in the last 16 games, falling to Indiana 115-108 in overtime last Friday. That remains the lone loss to a Central Division foe this year, and the Bulls have lost their last six games when surrendering more over 100.
The team nearly allowed the Grizzlies to reach the century mark but held on for the win thanks to NBA MVP favorite Derrick Rose, who scored the last six points for Chicago and finished with a game-high 24 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Rose donated $1,000 for every point he scored to earthquake and tsunami relief in Japan.
The Bulls failed to beat the 9-point line against Memphis after covering the spread in seven of their previous eight games. They have also gone 20-6 ATS in their last 26 games overall with the OVER cashing in four straight.
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