Boston Celtics -3 at Chicago Bulls +3 O/U 195.5 7 PM ET Thursday April 30, 2009 on TNT
by Jason Green of Predictem.com
The Celtics lead this best of 7 series 3-2.
Can there be another OT game in this series? There have already been 3 games in this series and the Celtics finally won one of them beating the Bulls in Boston in game 5. Paul Pierce hit some late buckets in game 5 to give the Celtics the win and they look to close out the series tonight in the Windy City.
In game 5 the Celtics played good D and only allowed the Bulls to shoot 40% from the floor. They will have to duplicate that effort tonight. Derrick Rose has to rebound from a poor shooting game, as in game 5 he only went for 14 points on 7/16 shooting. He is a slasher and he did not shoot any free throws in game 5 and tonight he has to get to the charity stripe by attacking the rim and not settling for jumpers, which is not his strong suit. The Bulls simply need to shoot the rock better, as in game 3 starters John Salmons, Ben Gordon, and Rose were a combined 18/52 from the floor.
Online Sportsbooks have the Celtics as 3-point favorites in this game with a total around 195.5. The Celtics are posted at -145 as road favorites and the Bulls are posted at +125 as home underdogs.
The Celtics won game 5 in OT 106-104 on Tuesday night. The high scorer for the Celtics in that game was Rajon Rondo going for 28 points on 12/22 shooting including dishing out 11 assists. For the game the Celtics shot 42/86 from the floor for a FG% of 48.8%. The high scorer for the Bulls in game 5 was Ben Gordon going for 26 points, but he only shot 6/21 from the floor. For the game the Bulls were cold shooting 34/85 for a FG% of only 40%.
This season the Bulls ranked 8th in scoring (102.2 ppg) and the Celtics ranked 11th (100.9 ppg). On defense the Celtics ranked 3rd in points allowed (93.4 ppg) and the Bulls only ranked 21st (102.5 ppg). This season the Celtics were a much better team on the boards, as they had a rebounding differential of +4.5 rpg, while the Bulls were only at -0.7 rpg.
This season the Celtics were 42-39-1 ATS and the Bulls were 41-39-2. In terms of Over/Under games this season the Celtics were 41-40-1 and the Bulls were 45-37.
On the injury front PF Kevin Garnett is Out and PG Rajon Rondo is day to day for the Celtics and SG Ben Gordon is day to day for the Bulls.
Gordon has a tweaked hamstring and even though he played in game 5 it may have bothered his shooting stroke, big time. He did get to the charity stripe often in game 5 (11/12), but shooting percentage in the low 30’s from the field aint gonna cut it.
The Bulls need to play better perimiter defense on Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo, who combined for 54 points in game 5. Rondo had another great game falling 2 rebounds short of a triple double (28 points 8 rebounds 11 assists).
Last year the Celtics were all about the Big 3, but this year the Bulls are getting killed by the other starters as for the series Rondo is averaging 24.2 ppg, 10.2 rpg and 10.2 assists, “Big Baby” Davis is at 17.8 ppg and 7.6 rpg, and Kendrick Perkins is at 13.4 ppg and 11 rpg.
Gordon and Rose have to shoot the rock better tonight or this series will be over.
Bulls backup PG Kirk Hinrich had another solid game with 19 points on 6/12 shooting and he will log a lot of minutes tonight to give the Bulls some offense.
The Bulls also have to hold onto the rock better tonight, as in game 5 they had 13 turnovers.
If the Bulls can shoot the pill they have a chance in this game and in the series, but if they struggle tonight there will not be a game 7 in Boston.