(9-7, 10-5-1 ATS)
(14-4, 9-8-1 ATS)
NBA betting action is back on Friday night, and here at Bang the Book, we have all of the ins and outs covered for the duel in Beantown, as the Chicago Bulls invade TD Banknorth Garden in a tussle with the Boston Celtics.
The Bulls are at full strength now, and that could become a very scary thing for the rest of the NBA. Even though he was held to just five points and two boards, it was good to see F Carlos Boozer in a Chicago uniform for the first time in a horrible blowout loss to the Orlando Magic at home. This will be his road debut, and he’ll certainly be hoping for better. G Derrick Rose is probably going to have some of the scoring onus taken off of his shoulders, but the man from Memphis has really shined at the outset of an otherwise relatively dreary year for the men from the Windy City. Rose has averaged 25.8 points and 7.9 assists per game. He’s getting some great help in the post from both F Luol Deng and C Joakim Noah. Deng is averaging 18.6 points and 6.7 boards per night, while Noah is averaging 15.6 points and 12.4 points per game. It’s questionable whether the Bulls are really going to go with four forwards and Rose on the court most of the time or not, because they are really missing a true shooting guard in this fold.
The Celtics are just going about their business right now, and there is no shame in going 14-4 in their first 18 games. Defensively, allowing 93.0 points per game is amazing, especially when you factor in the fact that these guys are shooting a league high 50.7 percent from the floor and the second best percentage from beyond the arc at 40.7 percent. G Rajon Rondo might be the MVP of a team that he was originally only supposed to be a role player for. Rondo leads the NBA with 13.8 assists per game, and he is one of six players that are averaging double digits in scoring. As always, “The Captain,” F Paul Pierce is the man that is really leading the charge. Pierce is shooting 45.6 percent from downtown on the season, and he is scoring 19.7 points on the average night. G Ray Allen is shooting 43.0 percent from the land of trey, and he is at 16.0 points per game. This is going to be a big night for C Shaquille O’Neal as well. The big man doesn’t play every night, but with the Bulls having so many bigs to throw into the paint, he has to guard the area for all that he’s worth.
The Bulls are going to get it together really, really soon, and that time might be now. Boston Garden just doesn’t have the same aura around it that it did say, three or four years ago, and when push really comes to shove, these big guys for the Bulls are going to rule the day unless the C’s continue this torrid shooting pace.
NBA Free Pick: Chicago Bulls +5.5