Boston Celtics at Chicago Bulls

NBA Playoffs Betting Preview
Boston Celtics at Chicago Bulls
7:00PM Eastern Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Boston leads series 3-2 betting line – Chicago -3, 196 O/U

The Chicago Bulls and the Boston Celtics have put together possibly one of the best opening round playoff series in history. Tuesday night’s game was just another example of how exciting the last 5 games have been. The Celtics and the Bulls went into overtime for the 3rd time in 5 games and it was the 4th game that the margin of victory has been 3 points or less. The basketball slugfest has become the first series in postseason history to have 3 overtimes. Late in the 4th quarter in Tuesday night’s game the Bulls were faced with an inbounds play with less than 10 seconds remaining. Chicago Coach Vinny Del Negro drew up a perfect play which allowed Brad Miller to roll towards the basket wide open and seemed to have an easy two point lay-up. However, Miller was fouled rather hard by Boston guard Rajon Rondo. After review of the play, the foul could have easily been called intentional as Rondo’s hand came across Miller’s face leaving him with a mouth full of blood. Miller went on to miss both free throws even though the 2nd miss was on purpose and Boston got the rebound which gave them a 3-2 lead in the series. The Bulls now have their back against the wall, but judging how well they have played it would be surprising if this series does not see a Game 7.

Rajon Rondo led the Boston Celtics with 28 points on Tuesday night continuing his stellar postseason play. Rondo has averaged 24.2 points in the 5 games played and has been vital to the Celtics success. However, Paul Pierce was the real hero from Tuesday night’s classic battle. Pierce has really come on strong the last few outings with strong shooting performances. Late in the 4th quarter, Pierce knocked down a crucial basket right above the free throw line which tied the game and sent the contest into overtime. Pierce knocked down many clutch shots as the game winded down, but the biggest was another similar 17 footer with 3.2 seconds to go which ended up being the game winning basket. Ray Allen who has been the primary clutch shooter for the Boston Celtics through the series, fouled out in the game. Allen finished with only 10 points on the night. Boston will look for Allen to back to rhythm and hope Pierce and Rondo can stay hot this Thursday night.

Chicago has put up a valiant effort to take down the defending World Champions, but they are quickly running out of time. The Bulls still have a glimmer of hope, but to pull off back to back wins over Boston will be far from a small task. Chicago shooting guard Ben Gordon has been super throughout the series, but a hamstring injury seems to be taking effect. Gordon still managed to drain 26 points in the overtime loss on Tuesday night, but his shot was a bit altered all night as he tried to make up for the ailing hamstring. If Gordon starts to struggle, the Bulls chances to win the series goes from bad to worse. John Salmons has not but spectacular, but effectively consistent averaging 16 points through the series. Rookie Derrick Rose has been hot and cold. Rose needs to be the man to step up for Ben Gordon if the hamstring continues to affect his play. For a rookie, that may be placing a lot of pressure on the young guard. However, Rose can get a hot hand quickly making him very dangerous. Expect to see another great effort from Chicago at home in Game 6.

Pick – Over 196

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