at CHICAGO BULLS
Tip-off: Monday, 9:30 p.m. EDT
Line: Chicago -12, Total: 191
Indiana gave the Bulls all they could handle in Saturday’s Game 1, but did the Pacers already give them their best shot?
Indiana is a subpar offensive team, yet managed to hang 99 on the NBA’s best defensive team on Saturday. Chicago allowed 99 points at home just seven times in 41 regular season home games. Basketball scores.
Indiana shot 46.4% from the field and, more impressively, hit 10 of 18 threes. Tyler Hansbrough was a machine from 12 to 18 feet, hitting 10 of 19 from the field for 22 points. Danny Granger scored 10 of 20, including 4 of 8 threes, for 24 points despite Luol Deng contesting just about every shot. Granger shot 36.7% from the field against Chicago during the regular season. Point guard Darren Collison scored 17 on 7 of 15 shooting and hit both his three-point attempts. He shot 34.5% in four games against the Bulls during the regular season. It will be tough for all three players to match that offensive output in Game 2.
On the other side, the Bulls survived an awful performance by Carlos Boozer, who got into early foul trouble and was atrocious on both ends of the floor. Aside from allowing a series of open jumpers to Hansbrough, he shot 4-of-11 from the field. Derrick Rose got his points going toward the basket (39 points while shooting 10-for-14 on two-pointers and hitting 19 of 21 from the line) but missed all nine of his three-point attempts. Basketball odds.
During the regular season, the Bulls beat Indiana by 19 and 21 in their two meetings in Chicago. There might have been some playoff opener jitters on Saturday, but they should be gone now. When Saturday’s game was on the line, with the Pacers leading by 10 with less than four minutes to go, Chicago simply dominated, finishing on a 16-1 run.
That late-game run was a result of superior talent and Indiana’s luck evening out. That will carry over into Game 2. My pick is Chicago to win and cover the big spread. Basketball spreads.
The FoxSheets have a four-star trend working in the Bulls’ favor:
Play On – Any team (CHICAGO) – good shooting team (45.5-47.5%) against an average defensive team (43.5-45.5%) after 42+ games, after 3 straight games – attempting 10+ more free throws than opponent. (29-5 since 1996, 85.3%, +23.5 units. Rating = 4*)