Boston Celtics at Chicago Bulls

NBA Playoff Betting Preview
Boston Celtics at Chicago Bulls
Thursday, April 23rd, 2009 betting line – Chicago -2.5, 200.5 O/U

The NBA Playoffs got off to a great start when the Chicago Bulls took down the defending World Champions the Boston Celtics in dramatic fashion in the opening game of the series. The Bulls were lifted by the play of rookie Derrick Rose who knocked down 36 points in the over-time victory. Rose 36 points tied Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record for the most points in a playoff debut. Game 1 was a big storyline because of the hard fought back and forth action. However, the following game last Monday was very similar and just as exciting as the first. The game was another back and forth slugfest, but this time the outcome was slightly different. Ray Allen for the Boston Celtics got the hot hand in the 2nd half scoring 28 points and delivering the nail in the coffin when he drained a 3 pointer with less than two seconds to play. The exciting win evened up the series as game 3 heads to Chicago as everyone anticipates another exciting contest as this series has the making to possibly make it to 7 games.

Chicago has really come on strong in the late part of the season and carried a lot of momentum into the playoffs. The Bulls are fairly young team that has a lot of room to develop and they may be blossoming earlier than expected. The Bulls won 12 of their last 16 games of the regular season ending on a high note. The solid stretch also included a victory over the Celtics. However, most people had forgotten about the success heading into the start of the series and their opening round win caught many by surprise. However, this was not that big of a surprise considering how well Chicago has played over the last few weeks. As Rose led the scoring efforts in the big win in game 1, Ben Gordon fired back with a huge night in game 2 draining 42 points on the night. Gordon and Rose have been contributing factors to giving the Bulls the opportunity to take down the defending Champions. After two straight games being decided by only a basket, Chicago will definitely try to build on that momentum when they get Boston back at home this Thursday night.

Boston probably did not envision this type of struggle in their opening series of the playoffs. While the Celtics have not been as dominant as they were this time last year, they have still played extremely well inside TD Northbank Garden this season. Leaving Boston not ahead 2-0 in the series has to feel like a let down. However, Boston showed the fight of a champion in game 2 when they hit nearly every clutch shot down the stretch given nearly every shot was from the hot hand of Ray Allen. Still, Boston must find away to not let things go any further for Chicago. The Celtics need to come out and make a statement in game 3 and stop the Bull’s confidence from building. Like it or not, the absence of Kevin Garnett is really hurting this team. Not only is Garnett an extremely big defensive force, but he gives the Celtics the depth they need. The bench only scored 10 points in their 118-115 win on Monday. Definitely not trying to give Boston any excuses, but the loss of Garnett does have its effects. However, if Ray Allen can find rhythm again and Rajon Rondo can continue to play well then the Celtics still should be favorites in the series despite being 2.5 point underdogs on Thursday.

Pick – Chicago continues to impress. Bulls -2.5

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