Chicago Bulls (23-24 23-21-3 ATS) vs. Atlanta Hawks (31-17 30-18 ATS) Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA 8 PM EST Friday February 5, 2010 on ESPN
by Jason Green at Predictem.com
Point Spread: Bulls +8.5 / Hawks -8.5
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Tonight in an Eastern Conference match up of a couple of teams that are 6-4 in their last 10 games the Atlanta Hawks host the Chicago Bulls. The Hawks are coming off a win, but still trail the Orlando Magic by 1.5 games in the Southeast Division. The Bulls have lost 2 in a row and catching Cleveland in the Central Division is a long shot to say the least, as they trail the Cavs by 15 games.
This season the Hawks are 20-5 at home and the Bulls are 9-16 on the road.
The Hawks have won 8 of their last 9 home games and earlier this season handed the Bulls their worst loss of the season bating them 118-83. Joe Johnson (22 ppg) has killed the Bulls in his career, as earlier this season he dropped 40 on them and in 6 of his career 40-point games 3 have come against Chicago.
Johnson has been on fire lately averaging 25.5 points over his last 12 games and in the last 2 he has scored 37 and 34 respectively.
A big match up in this game would have been underneath between first time All Star Al Horford (13.4 ppg 9.5 rpg) and his fellow Florida teammate Joakim Noah (11.2 ppg 12 rpg), who is 2nd in the league in rebounds per game. However, Noah is back in Chicago to treat a nagging plantar fasciitis injury. With Noah out the Bulls will have to pick up the rebounding slack.
The Bulls are without Noah, but they also have a few other players banged up.
For Chicago to pull off the upset in this game they will have to win with their defense. The Bulls offense is not a high scoring one, so they will have to play D against a Hawks’ team that ranks 7th in the league in points per game.
In their last game the Bulls lost to the Philadelphia 76ers 106-103 on Wednesday night. The high scorer for Chicago in the game was Derrick Rose going for 30 points on 10/22 shooting. For the game the Bulls went 38/86 from the floor for a FG% of 44.2%. On D the Bulls played poorly allowing the 76ers to shoot 45/86 for a FG% of 52.3%.
The Hawks also lost their last game on Wednesday night losing to the L.A. Clippers 103-97. The high scorer for Atlanta was Joe Johnson going for 34 points on 11/21 shooting. For the game the Hawks shot 36/79 for a FG% of 45.6%. On defense the Hawks allowed the Clippers to shoot 39/89 from the floor for a FG% of 43.8%.
This season the Hawks rank 7th in scoring (102.2 ppg) while the Bulls are not lighting up the scoreboard ranking 27th (95.4 ppg). On defense the Hawks rank 12th in points allowed (97.5 ppg) while the Bulls are right behind them ranking 13th (97.9 ppg). This season the Bulls have a rebounding differential of +2.5 rpg and the Hawks are in the negative at -0.6 rpg.
According to the Sagarin NBA ratings the Hawks rank 5th (94.31) and the Bulls rank 20th (89.03).
Chicago is 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games, 5-1 ATS in their last 6 road games, and 6-0 ATS in their last 6 road games against teams with a home winning percentage of greater than 60%.
Chicago has an Over record of 5-0 in their last 5 games against teams with a winning record and has an Under record of 4-1 in their last 5 games as a road underdog of 5.0-10.5.
Atlanta is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games, 17-8-1 ATS in their last 26 home games, and is 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games against teams with a losing record.
Chicago has an Over record of 4-0 in their last 4 home games and has an Over record of 11-3 in their last 14 home games against teams with a losing road record.
Chicago is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games against Atlanta and in the last 6 games in Atlanta the total has gone Over.
On the injury front C Joakim Noah is Out and F Taj Gibson, SF Luol Deng, and C Brad Miller are all day-to-day for Chicago while Atlanta is not reporting any significant injuries.
Jason’s Pick: I like the Bulls to cover the spread despite Noah being out.