NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Quarterfinals Game #1
Best of seven series, format 2-2-1-1-1
#8 Philadelphia 76ers at #1 Chicago Bulls
United Center – Chicago, Illinois
Saturday, April 28, 2012, 1:00 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
Series Price: Chicago -1500 / Philadelphia +950 (courtesy of Bookmaker)
Game #1 Opening Line: Chicago -8 1/2
Game #1 Current Line: Chicago -8 1/2
Game #1 Opening Total: 175 1/2
Game #1 Current Total: 175
Game #1 Opening Money Line: Bulls -515 / 76ers +415
Game #1 Current Money Line: Bulls -520 / 76ers +420
On Thursday night, while the Chicago Bulls were crushing the Cavaliers 107-75 to secure the NBA’s best record at 50-16, the Philadelphia 76ers and New York Knicks were doing everything possible to make sure they played the Bulls in the first round instead of the Miami Heat. The Sixers sat most of their starters in a 108-86 loss at Detroit. The Knicks also sat their starters but they were playing the hapless Bobcats who ended the season on a 23 game losing streak to become the worst team by winning percentage in NBA history. The Knicks easily won so they will play the Heat in the first round.
The Philadelphia 76ers finished the regular season 35-31 and are the #8 seed. They got their wish to play the Bulls in the first round, but be careful what you wish for as the saying goes. The Sixers are coached by Doug Collins, who coached the Bulls just before Phil Jackson took over the team in the early 90’s and won 6 championships with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. Philadelphia had won 4 games in a row before the loss at Detroit to end the regular season.Philadelphia started off the season 20-9 but limped into the playoffs with a 15-22 record the rest of the way.
Chicago has battled injuries all season, namely to defending League MVP Derrick Rose. Rose missed 27 of the 66 games this season due to various injuries. Chicago went 18-9 in those games, a large part of the reason they tied with San Antonio for the best record in the league. It is a testament to the leadership of Tom Thibodeau, a candidate for coach of the year. Chicago’s supporting cast took on a “Bench Mob” mentality in Rose’s absence and wanted to prove that Rose wasn’t a one man team. However, in the games Rose played sometimes the other Bulls deferred to him too much and waited on Rose to create the offense. They need a balance between how they played without Rose and still letting Rose get his points. Chicago went 8-5 down the stretch but will have home court advantage throughout the playoffs.
Chicago went 2-1 this season against Philadelphia. Philadelphia won the first meeting February 1 at home 98-82. Chicago won at Philadelphia March 4 96-91 and March 17 89-80 in Chicago.
The 76ers are outscoring opponents 94-89 this season. Philadelphia is #3 in points allowed in the league. The 76ers are shooting 44.8% from the field and 36.2% from 3 point range. The Sixers are #8 in 3 point percentage. The 76ers make 74.2% of their free throws. Philadelphia is #7 in rebounding averaging 43.2 a game with a rebounding margin of -0.5. The 76ers average 22 assists, 11.2 turnovers, 8 steals, and 5.2 steals a game. Sixer opponents shoot 42.7% from the field and 33.4% from 3 point range. Philadelphia is in the top six in the league in both categories. The 76ers force 13.9 turnovers a game.
Sixer point guard Lou Williams averages 14.9 points to lead the team, 2.4 rebounds, and 3.5 assists. Jrue Holiday averages 13.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 1.6 steals a game. Forward Thaddeus Young averages 12.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 1 steal a game. Forward Andre Iguodala averages 12.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 1.7 steals a game to lead the team in the latter two categories. Forward Elton Brand averages 11 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1 steal, and 1.6 blocks a game to lead the team. Center Spencer Hawes, shooting guard Evan Turner, and guard Jodie Meeks also contribute significantly to the scoring. Hawes averages 7.3 rebounds a game to lead the team.
Chicago is outscoring opponents 96-88 this season. The Bulls are first in points allowed in the NBA. Chicago is shooting 45.2% from the field and 37.5% from 3 point range. The Bulls are #4 in three pointers. The Bulls make 72.2% of their free throws. Chicago leads the league in rebounding averaging 46.7 a game with a rebounding margin of +6.7. The Bulls average 23.1 assists, 14 turnovers, 6.9 steals, and 5.9 blocks a game. Chicago is 4th in the league in assists. Chicago opponents are shooting 42.1% from the field and 32.5% from 3 point range. The Bulls are in the top 5 in the league in all defensive categories. Chicago forces 13.4 turnovers a game.
Derrick Rose averages 21.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 7.9 assists a game. He leads the Bulls in scoring and assists. Rose isn’t 100% with a foot injury, but will play. Forward Luol Deng averages 15.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1 steal a game. Forward Carlos Boozer averages 15 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1 steal a game. Guard Richard Hamilton averages 11.6 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 3 assists. Joakim Noah averages 10.2 points, 9.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.4 blocks a game. Noah leads the Bulls in rebounds and blocks. Back-up point guard C.J. Watson averages 9.7 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 4.1 assists a game. He has been starting in place of Rose and has done well. Ronnie Brewer leads the Bulls in steals with 1.1 a game.
Chicago is 38-27-1 ATS this season and the total is 31-34-1. Philadelphia is 33-32-1 ATS and the total is 30-36 this season. The over is 12-4-1 in this series recently. The 76ers are 4-1 ATS in road games, overall, against eastern Conference teams, and one 1 day rest, 10-4 after allowing 100 points or more, 7-3 as a playoff underdog, 4-9 as an underdog overall, and in road games against teams with winning home records, 2-6 after a straight up loss, and after a straight up loss of 10 points or more, and 7-21 against teams with winning records. The Bulls are 4-0 ATS as a favorite, and on one 1 day rest, 4-1-1 at home, and as a home favorite, 4-1 against teams with winning records, and overall, 3-1-1 as a playoff favorite of 5-10.5 points, and at home against teams with losing road records, 11-5-1 against Eastern Conference teams, and 0-4 after scoring 100 points or more.
Philadelphia is kind of like a dog that finally catches a car. Now what? You got the Bulls in the first round. The Bulls are saying all the right things about not being disrespected by the Sixers openly wanting the Bulls in the first round instead of Miami. However, you know it has to tick them off a little. Even with a gimpy Rose, the Bulls are simply the better team. Philadelphia might steal a game but not this one. The Bulls win game #1 easily and win the series 4-1 against a sputtering Philadelphia team that just barely made the playoffs.
Our NBA handicappers look to continue their red hot streak as the playoffs get underway. Don’t miss out on any more winners from now until the Finals in June.