The Celtics will try to even their best-of-seven first round series with the Bulls and recover home court advantage. Boston is favored by 2.5 points on the NBA odds board and the total has been set at 204.5.
The Celtics beat the Bulls 104-87 on Friday after losing the first two games of the series in Boston. The Celtics used a balanced attack to make this a series, led by 18 points, eight rebounds, six assists and four steals from Al Horford. Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder finished with 16 points each and Avery Bradley and Terry Rozier stepped up big time.
Bradley scored 15 points (made four 3-pointers) with seven rebounds and seven assists and Rozier added 11 points off the bench for a Celtics team that hit 17 of 37 3-point attempts.
The Bulls played poorly without starting point guard Rajon Rondo, who missed the game due to a thumb injury. Rondo's backups, Jerian Grant and Michael Carter-Williams combined for just eight points and three assists while shooting 3 of 10 from the floor and Chicago finished with 14 assists, the same number Rondo had in Game 2.
Dwyane Wade led the team with 18 points but he shot 6 of 18 while Jimmy Butler scored 14 points and also struggled with his shot selection, going just 7 of 21 from the floor. Chicago shot a poor 6 of 21 from 3-point range and they need to find a way to jump start this offense without Rondo.
The total has gone Under in 24 of 39 games played in Chicago since 1996, in four of six games played in Chicago over the last 3 seasons, in six of Boston's last eight games and in nine of Chicago's last 10 games when playing against a team with a winning record.
I'm taking 'under' 204.5 with my NBA picks. The Bulls will play better defense in this one and we can't expect the Celtics to hit 17 3-pointers again. The Bulls don't have an explosive offense and with Rondo out they will have a hard time scoring again, so the 'under' at -110 NBA odds is the play.