Chicago Bulls at Boston Celtics
Friday, 11/5/10, 8:00 PM EST; TV: ESPN
Opening Point Spread: Boston -7
Current Betting Line: Boston -8
Opening Total: 193.5
Current Total: 194
Chicago fell 120-112 at home last night to the New York Knicks and had most of its starters on the bench down the stretch in preparation for tonight’s game. Bulls first-year head coach Tom Thibodeau will now return to face the team he served as an assistant coach for in Friday night’s Eastern Conference showdown. “Thibs brings a passion for defense, I think,” Celtics forward Kevin Garnett stated. “When you think of his strengths, he’s obviously a defensive guy.” The Bulls will certainly need to do a better job of defending the perimeter tonight to have a chance after allowing the Knicks to knock down 16 of 24 shots from three-point range. Chicago fell behind by 21 points in this contest in the first half due to being outscored 36-22 in the second quarter. The team is 19-22 ATS versus the Atlantic Division and are currently listed on the NBA lines page as an eight-point underdog.
The Bulls are relying heavily on point guard Derrick Rose to produce on a nightly basis and he will be matched up with arguably the premiere assist man in the NBA. Rose and Rajon Rondo have developed a quiet rivalry in the last few years and both players were on the U.S. national team preparing for the FIBA World Championships, but Rondo was dropped from the squad, while Rose became the starting point guard. “He’s doing exactly what the team needs him to do,” said Rose of Rondo. “It’s hard when somebody doesn’t have to score and they still can control the game.” Chicago carries a two-game winning streak in the series, winning in Boston last January and at home late in the season with a playoff spot on the line.
Boston was able to grind out a 105-102 overtime victory at home against the Milwaukee Bucks last time out and Rondo dished out 15 assists. He had already broken an NBA record with 65 assists in his first four games and now has 82 on the season. “I played with Steph Marbury, I played with Terrell Brandon, I played with Sam Cassell,” said Garnett. “I’ve never played with an all-around point guard who can play defense, set the tone offensively and defensively.” The Celtics split the season series 2-2 versus the Bulls and have a 61-32 all-time record against the Bulls at home. Boston is 46-58 ATS at home over the last three campaigns.
The Celtics are led offensively by forward Paul Pierce and he is coming off a 28-point performance against the Bucks. During last season’s series, Pierce averaged a team-high 21.0 points and shot 50 percent from beyond the arc against the Bulls. Boston is missing center Shaquille O’Neal due to a bruised right knee, which has opened up playing time to Semih Erden. “He knows how to play,” said head coach Doc Rivers. “He’s just trying to learn how to play our way.”
Bettors will definitely be analyzing the Bulls 11-1 ATS mark following a straight-up loss, while the Celtics are 7-0 ATS after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game.
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