The Brooklyn Nets are playing just to get into the East playoffs & their game on Monday against the Chicago Bulls carries a lot of significance in the standings and the NBA betting lines.
The Chicago Bulls Can Win Because…
They have Derrick Rose back, and he played well enough on Saturday against Philadelphia to suggest that he can continue to function at a relatively high level. Rose’s jump shot might not have been sharp against the 76ers, but everything else about his game was right on target. Rose scored 22 points and dished out eight assists in 28 minutes. Those numbers are really good, but the best number is that Rose committed zero turnovers. He played effectively as a facilitator of the Bulls’ halfcourt offense. His teammates didn’t shoot the ball as well as they could have, which kept Rose’s number of assists down. However, Rose still put his teammates in position to make plays, a very encouraging development which was accompanied by something else that should make the Bulls optimistic: Rose looked explosive. He was getting to the basket, and his leaping ability did not seem compromised. The recurrence of so many injuries has rightly given the Bulls organization much cause for concern, so the idea of Rose being less than fully explosive was something the team was bracing for. Yet, he looked powerful against Philadelphia. That, along with the numbers, puts Chicago in good position to win this game, which comes after a day of rest. Had it been part of a back-to-back, the Bulls’ prospects might be less positive.
Chicago might be the winning NBA pick here because Brooklyn looked terrible on Sunday afternoon in a 96-73 loss to Milwaukee. The Nets were playing for their playoff lives, and simply didn’t show up. The Nets hit under 33 percent of their shots. They made only 3 of 18 three-point attempts. They committed 21 turnovers, 13 of which were Milwaukee steals. They were wretched. Deron Williams was 1 of 11 from the field. Joe Johnson was 3 of 9. The Nets won’t have a chance playing like that, and unlike Chicago, Brooklyn is in fact playing the second end of a back-to-back.
The Brooklyn Nets Can Win Because…
They almost have to. The Nets watched Indiana beat Oklahoma City on Sunday to pull into a tie with the Nets for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. The Nets have the tiebreaker, but if they lose this game to Chicago and Indiana beats Washington on Tuesday, the Nets would enter the final night of the regular season having to depend on an Indiana loss in order to get in. They don’t want things to get to that point. If Brooklyn can win here, it would only need to beat Orlando at home on Wednesday to ensure that it makes the playoffs. The stakes are what should give Brooklyn a better chance than anything else, because the stats from Sunday’s game against Milwaukee sure don’t. The other obvious reason to pick Brooklyn? You wouldn’t count on Deron Williams and Joe Johnson to be anywhere close to the combined 4 of 20 total they put up (as a combo) against Milwaukee. That’s probably going to change a great deal.
The Bulls aren’t coming off a stinker the way the Nets are, but Brooklyn sorely needs this game a lot more than Chicago does. At home, take the Nets with your NBA picks, though this game will probably be very close as the NBA odds suggest.
NBA Pick: Brooklyn +1 at 5Dimes