Chicago Bulls vs. Boston Celtics Game 5 Preview and Picks

Chicago Bulls +7.5 (41-41) at Boston Celtics -7.5 (62-20) O/U 200 7 PM ET Tuesday April 28, 2009 on TNT
Bu Jason Green at

This best of 7 series is tied 2-2.

Tonight in an all-important game 5 the defending champion Boston Celtics host the Chicago Bulls. Even though the series is tied at 2 games apiece, both losses by the Celtics were in OT including game 4 in double OT in Chicago. Game 4 was another high scoring one and one where the Celtics had trouble hitting big shots down the stretch. For the game the Celtics only shot a hair above 42% from the floor. The Celtics need to stay out of foul trouble, as both Kendrick Perkins and Brian Scalabrine fouled out in game4. That can’t happen in game 5 tonight, since the Celtics are already thin in their frontcourt missing Kevin Garnett and Leon Powe.

The Bulls played solid offensively in game 4 and not only shot well, but had 7 players who scored at least 12 points with no Chicago player scoring more than 23. The Celtics could really use some help from their bench, as in game 4 Boston’s bench only scored 11 points on 4/10 shooting. With KG out the Celtics are playing to the Bulls’ style and they proved the can win, but they need to hit some shots in the 4th quarter to do it.

This season the Celtics were 35-6 at home and the Bulls were 13-28 in away games.

Basketball Bookies have the Celtics favored by 8.5 points with a total around 200. The Celtics are posted at -270 as home favorites and the Bulls are posted at +210 as road dogs.

In game 4 on Sunday night the Bulls beat the Celtics 121-118 in double OT. The high scorer for the bulls in that game was Derrick Rose going for 23 points on 10/17 shooting. Rose was only 1 assist shy of a triple double in game 4 (23 points 11 rebounds 9 assists). For the game the Bulls shot 45/93 from the floor for a FG% of 48.4%. The high scorer for the Celtics in game 4 was Paul Pierce going for 29 points on 9/24 shooting. For the game the Celtics were cold, as they were only 40/95 from the floor for a FG% of 42.1%.

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 Brian Scalabrine is day to day for the Celtics and the Bulls are not reporting any significant injuries.

Even though the injury report says the Bulls are healthy Ben Gordon has a strained hamstring, but he will play tonight. If he is limited tonight it will hurt the Bulls, as he has been great in this series.

The Celtics need to take care of the rock better tonight, as in game 4 they had 19 turnovers that led to 24 Bulls points. However, PG Rajon Rondo only had 2 turnovers and had a triple double in game 4 going for 25 points grabbing 11 boards and dishing out 11 assists. The Bulls have to keep him out of the lane and put a big body on him when he does get there.

Backup PG Kirk Hinrich played 43 minutes and scored 18 points for the Bulls in game 4 and they may need him to play like that again, especially if Gordon is bothered by his hammy.

The Celtics played decent D down low in game 4, but they need to play better perimeter D tonight against Rose, Gordon, and Hinrich.

In game 4 it seemed the Celtics were not getting any calls and they still only lost in double OT, but they are at home tonight and the calls should go their way.

Last season the Celtics had 2 game 5’s that they won at home en route to the NBA title, but can they do that again without KG in the lineup?

Jason’s Pick: After seeing the Celtics blow out Chicago on their home court and knowing that Ben Gordon has a bad hammy, how can one feel good about betting on the Bulls? Take the Celtics to drop the hammer tonight.