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Carlos Boozer and Kirk Hinrich both missed Wednesday’s game for the Bulls, and it looks as if both are questionable for tonight’s big game against the Clippers. Chicago has been playing well recently even after trading Luol Deng to the Cavs, however with both of these guys questionable tonight, it seems as if Chicago might be overvalued. Even though Taj Gibson filled in marvelously for Boozer a few days ago, against a better team like the Clippers, Boozer’s offense might be missed tonight.
On the other side, Chris Paul is still a few weeks away from returning, but his backup is also feeling some pain. Coach Doc Rivers said Darren Collison has been dealing with a toe injury, and it may force him to sit against the Bulls if the pain and ineffectiveness continues. If that is the case tonight, Darius Morris and maybe even Jamaal Crawford would split the point guard duties in Chicago.
All of these injuries affect their team’s offense, however on defense it will still likely be a pretty good battle. The Clippers struggle down low sometimes so Gibson and Joakim Noah will likely have good games. However the Clippers have immense back court depth, and with the Hinrich injury and the Deng trade, Chicago is very vulnerable to guys like JJ Reddick and Crawford, and I think this may lead to value on the Clippers.
The Sharp Pick
Even though the Bulls are 9-2 SU in their last 11 games, they haven’t played too many teams with much talent. For instance, their last four wins SU have come against Cleveland, the Lakers, Philadelphia and Orlando. This isn’t saying much, and coming up against a team like the Clippers, I doubt the Bulls cover tonight. Chicago is not in a great position potentially without Boozer and Hinrich.
Even if Collison sits, I doubt his absence affects this game too much. The Bulls are already going to have trouble with former-Bull Jamaal Crawford, and if Crawford gets more minutes tonight because of the injury to Collison, I think it might help the Clippers against the Bulls.
Against teams from the Eastern Conference, the Clippers have been very good defensively this season. LA is only giving up 95 points per game when they play opponents from the other conference, and against a Bulls team that struggles in that area sometimes, it could be a very good game for LA here. Rivers knows how to beat East teams, and especially playing against his protégé in Tom Thibodeau, I think the Jedi Master will have the upper hand against his Padawan learner. For some reason, LA has been undervalued in some cases, and it has led them to a 25-19 ATS record on the season. I think they will once again cover their NBA Odds tonight, so add them to your NBA Picks.
My Pick: Clippers -3 ½