Before the season began it was generally thought that a shortened season, due to the CBO lock-out, would be a huge advantage for the aging Boston Celtics roster. Can they show their credentials against the Chicago Bulls?
5* graded play on the Chicago Bulls as they take on the Boston Celtics set to start at 8:05 PM ET. 

Derrick Rose update

Rose participated in shoot around activities late this morning and it appears highly probable that he will play tonight. He has a sprained toe and that had become extremely sore but he did not show any significant signs of it in the shoot around. "He'll warm up tonight and see if he can go," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said Friday morning. "He's feeling a lot better today." I think that is an endorsement he will play in this Eastern Conference showdown.

Derrick RoseThe NBA betting line

This NBA odds opened with the Bulls installed as 1.5 point road favorites and with a 177 -110 point total. Even with the toe injury to Rose, the line has moved to 2.5 and a 178 point total and has been led by the ‘sharps’ with significantly large wagers. 

Boston is old

At 4-5 for the season and in third place in the Atlantic division, the Celtics are truly showing their age. They lost to Dallas 90-85 installed as 4.5 point home favorites Wednesday. In that game it was painfully obvious that both teams were largely out of NBA game shape. In one critical juncture of the fourth quarter a Dallas guard stole the ball and raced toward the hoop. He was tracked by one Celtic defender, who the referees called a phantom foul on at the rim and subsequently stopped play. On the replays you could see that that there was no foul, but what was far more alarming was the fact that not ONE player from either team had made an effort to cross half court. 

The lack of effort, with every player standing motionless, looked more like a LA Fitness League game where half the players are 40-somethings, who once played varsity high school basketball a long time ago. I had stated at the beginning of the season that conditioning would be of far greater importance in handicapping games than any other season. I actually may have under estimated this impact. 

Just last night, I had Memphis playing at home against the Knicks as a 5* Titan play in my NBA picks. Memphis clobbered the Knicks and the final score was not anywhere reflective of how dominating Memphis was at both ends of the court. The Knicks had just defeated the youthful, conditioned, and Atlantic leading Philadelphia 76ers the night before at Madison Square Garden. The 76ers were playing their third straight game in as many nights, but did not physically show any significant fatigue. 

Then the Knicks had their turn on back-to-back nights and played with almost no heart, enthusiasm, or team chemistry. The same can be expected tonight, although Boston will play with a bit more fervor with this game taking place at the Garden. 

Simulator projections

My proprietary sports betting database and simulator show a high probability that Chicago will win this game by five or more points. The simulator shows a high probability that Chicago will have a minimum of four more rebounds than Boston and will shoot between 43 and 47% from the field. This is good news for the Bulls noting they are 23-8 ATS when they grab four to nine more rebounds than their opponents in a game over the last two seasons. Boston is just 12-24 ATS when their opponents make 43% to 47% of their shots in a game over the last two seasons. 

I strongly believe the Bulls will win this game easily