The Nets roar into the Windy City fresh off a decisive victory over the Bobcats while the Bulls look to notch their third win in a row. Let's peruse the NBA odds being offered and analyze this matchup.
Brooklyn Nets (24-26 SU, 25-25 ATS)
After last night's 105-89 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats the Nets have now won four of their last five. Yet the Nets still find themselves two games below .500 in the decidedly weaker Eastern Conference and clinging to the seventh playoff seed. But if the Brooklyn is ever going to prove that their acquisitions of fading stars Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce was a masterstroke by the front office then they better continue to do more winning than losing going forward.
Perhaps I better check myself when I refer to Paul Pierce as a fading star, particularly after last night's performance. While it is true the 36-year-old Pierce is down over eight full points from his career average of 21.5 points per game, it must also be understood that his minutes this season have been scaled back to keep him fresher going into the postseason (if indeed there is a postseason for the Nets). Pierce is averaging 29 minutes per game this season after averaging 36.3 during his illustrious tenure with the Boston Celtics.
Last evening Pierce was a natural born killer from beyond the arc, shooting 5-for-5 and draining 25 points leading the way to a big win over the team nipping at their playoff heels. Pierce and head coach Jason Kidd credit the team's recent ball movement as the key to their success. If the club continues to distribute the ball look for their assists to increase as well as their winning percentage.
Chicago Bulls (26-25 SU, 23-27-1 ATS)
The Bulls have now won more than they’ve lost and are currently in a dog fight for the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference. Chicago has won and covered in NBA odds three of their last four games and have gotten the job done with a suffocating defense. They are currently allowing just 92.7 points per game (ranked 2nd in the NBA) and have also been solid on the boards grabbing an average of almost 45 rebounds per game.
The Bulls have been without All-Star point guard Derrick Rose throughout much of the season but the 25-year-old phenom has not closed the door on returning this season. However, the team is much more focused on the short-term and getting Carlos Boozer back from a strained calf muscle. Boozer has been sidelined for the past three games but reports are that he will be in uniform tonight.
If indeed Boozer does return to the lineup that will mean that Taj Gibson, who has seen his minutes and his scoring average soar over the last three games in relief of Boozer, will see his role reduced. Nevertheless, the team appears to be firing on all cylinders and an infusion of offensive production could make this team dangerous not only tonight but also in the postseason.
Free NBA Pick:
The Nets have lost 12 of the last 15 regular season meetings against the Bulls when playing in Chi-Town. And so it makes sense that in their only meeting this season it was the Bulls who throttled the Nets on their home court in Brooklyn 95-78 as 3 ½ point underdogs in NBA odds.
Though both teams have played well of late, the Nets were in action last night and immediately had to fly from Brooklyn to Chicago in order to take on the Bulls in hostile territory tonight. If Boozer does return, it could be a blowout at the United Center as Taj Gibson will still get plenty of minutes due to his recent performances. The Bulls will dominate the glass for our NBA picks and that will be the difference in this one.
Free NBA Picks: Bulls -3 ½ at bet365.com