Chicago Bulls vs. Boston Celtics Preview and Pick – Point Spread

Chicago Bulls (16-20 16-17-3 ATS) vs. Boston Celtics (27-10 16-20 ATS) TD Garden, Boston, MA 8 PM EST Thursday January 14, 2010 on TNT
by Jason Green at

Opening Line: Bulls +6.5 / Celtics -6.5
O/U: 195

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Tonight in an Eastern Conference match up the Boston Celtics host the Chicago Bulls. The Celtics are in 1st place in the Atlantic Division with a 9 game lead over the Toronto Raptors and are coming off a win, but they are only 5-5 in their last 10 games. The Bulls are in 2nd place in the Central Division 12 games back of the red-hot Cleveland Cavaliers, have won 2 in a row, and are 6-4 in their last 10 games.

This season the Celtics are 11-5 at home and the Bulls are only 3-13 on the road.

The Celtics have won both games against the Bulls this season, but they come into this game shorthanded. Kevin Garnett is out with a sore knee and they may be without Rasheed Wallace as well.

Chicago has won 2 games in a row, but the wins came against teams that are well below .500 this season in Detroit and Minnesota.

Since the Celtics have a couple of big men injured they will have to get solid scoring games from the other 2 of the Big 3 of Paul Pierce (18.4 ppg) and Ray Allen (16.4 ppg).

The Bulls may need to win this game with their defense, as they only rank 27th in the league this season in points per game. They only have 2 players in the starting lineup that are averaging in double figures.

Chicago does not have much of an inside presence, but they are actually a better rebounding team than the Celtics. If they can win the battle of the boards tonight and make this a low scoring game they have a great chance to score the upset tonight.

In their last game the Bulls crushed the Detroit Pistons 120-87 on Tuesday night. The high scorer for the Bulls in that game was Luol Deng going for 27 points on 13/18 shooting. For the game the Bulls shot lights out going 44/84 from the field for a scorching FG% of 57.1%. On defense the Bulls held the Pistons to 33/80 shooting for a FG% of 41.3%.

The Celtics had no problem beating the lowly New Jersey Nets 111-87 last night. The high scorer for the Celtics in the game was Paul Pierce going for 24 points on 6/9 shooting. For the game the Celtics shot great going 43/81 from the floor for a solid FG% of 53.1%. On defense the Celtics played great holding the Nets to 26/69 shooting for a weak FG% of 37.7%.

This season the Celtics rank 14th in scoring (100.7 ppg) while the Bulls only rank 27th (93.6 ppg). The reason the Celtics are so tough to beat is their defense, which ranks 2nd in the league in points allowed (93.8 ppg) while the Bulls rank a respectable 11th (97.3 ppg). The Bulls have been better on the boards, ad they have a rebounding differential of +2.7 rpg and the Celtics are at +0.3 rpg.

According to Sagarin NBA ratings the Celtics rank 2nd (96.06) and the Bulls rank 23rd (87.42).

Chicago is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall, 1-8 ATS in their last 9 games as a road underdog of 5.0-10.5, and 6-0 ATS in their last 6 games against Eastern Conference teams.

Boston is 3-8 ATS in their last 11 home games, 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games against Eastern Conference teams, and 4-12 ATS in their last 16 games as a home favorite of 5.0-10.5.

Since the Bulls do not have the best inside defense look for Kendrick Perkins (12.4 ppg 8.2 rpg), who leads the NBA in FG%, to have a good scoring game. He will also help contain Bulls’ C Joakim Noah (12.2 rpg), who ranks 2nd in the NBA in rebounding, and not let him dominate the glass.

The Celtics will play solid D on the Bulls’ scorers of Derrick Rose (18.6 ppg) and Luol Deng (17.4 ppg).

On the injury front PF Kevin Garnett is Out and PF Rasheed Wallace and SG Tony Allen are day-to-day for Boston and F Taj Gibson is day-to-day for Chicago.

Jason’s Pick: Even without KG and maybe even Wallace the Celtics will have other players step up and pick up the scoring slack. The Celtics win with defense and they will do that tonight, as they will win this game and cover the spread.