NBA News and Notes Saturday 5/2

NBA News and Notes Saturday 5/2

Bulls-Celtics Game 7 Preview
By Josh Jacobs

Some may say that a series going down to the wire this early on in the playoffs can only mean trouble for the winner once advancement is said and done. But for others, the best of seven between Boston and Chicago fits the bill as one of the more memorable moments in basketball’s rich history. The best part about this matchup; we’ve still got Game 7 to witness and wager on.

In yet another overtime scenario (triple OT to be exact), several events culminated in favor of the Bulls. The first event was a tremendous, highlight of the year type block of Rajon Rando’s 12-foot jumper from the outreached hands of rookie of the year, Derek Rose with seven seconds left. Then came Roses’ two huge misses from the free throw line with the clock stopped at three seconds. Boston’s Rondo heaved a half-court shot as time expired, missing the hardware and finally ending what was one exhausting evening in the NBA.

As unpredictable as the series has been from specific plays to the final outcome, gamblers have been driven to drink. We’ve found out that the pendulum continues to swing as rotating wins and losses against the spread has made handicapping this event that much more difficult.
   
The Bulls do own the edge in the ATS department. A 3-2-1 ATS record in the six games played isn’t much to sink our teeth into. On top of that, books have set spreads from 8 ½ in favor of the Celtics in Game 1 to just three points taken away from Chicago on Thursday night.

Then there’s the totals’ success. Not only has the ‘over’ gone 5-1 thanks to four overtime contests, but two more ‘over’ plays in the last two head-to-head games during the regular season raises the outcome to 7-1 on the ‘over’ in the last eight games. And the trends don’t stop there. Stretching a bit is an 8-2 record on the ‘over’ in the Bulls’ last 10 first round games in the playoffs and a 17-7 tab on the ‘over’ in the last 24 as a road underdog of 6 ½ to nine points.

That brings us to the spread in Game 7. Most books have opened the Celtics as 6 ½-point home favorites. The total installed hasn’t changed much down the stretch, currently being listed at 196 ½. Looking at the bigger picture has both clubs above the .500 wagering mark as Boston is 10-5 and Chicago is 16-9 on the ‘over’ when the total has been set between 195 and 199 ½-points.

Not to overload your computing skills but the Bulls’ 30-13 record on the ‘over’ versus winning teams and the Celtics’ 15-7 performance on the ‘over’ after coming off a loss are just two more figures which could be sending us to the counter in a hurry.

But as well as these trends read on paper, once tip-off commences at 8:00 p.m. EST the players, tempo and momentum of the game will ultimately dictate if our tickets are winners or just worthless pieces of paper.

We can theorize several points which could help us utilize several tactics before printing winning tickets. For starters, Chicago can best be characterized as a squad full of youth and above the rim talent. They’ve been playing at a blistering pace, scoring 100-plus points 21 times in the last 27 games. Maybe a pace factor of 93.1, a number that estimates team possessions over the course of 48 minutes, during the regular season should have given us some evidence of what was to develop in the playoffs, end-to-end action.

And the buck doesn’t stop here as Chicago is also 11-5 on the ‘over’ in the last 16 games as a visiting underdog. Ok, I’m sure you’re getting the point. Whether it’s based on pace factor, the trends which could fill up an encyclopedia or players like the Bulls’ John Salmons, Derrick Rose or Ben Gordon showing up to lead the team in points, the bottom line is we’re dealing with an ‘over’ eclipse. Let’s close out this talk about totals by stating that the Bulls are 9-4 on the ‘over’ after entering their next game off a SU win at home.

Much of the focus has been on Chicago so far in this report given the surprises that this team has already dished out to the defending champions. But let’s not forget that even without Kevin Garnett on the floor, Boston is getting solid offensive performance from Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo (despite scoring just eight points in Game 6). The problem for the Celtics is the defensive presence that Garnett brings to the table. And that presence problem, or lack thereof, has surprisingly reared its head exclusively in the playoffs where Boston has allowed Chicago to tack on an average of 113.2 PPG. This is opposed to allowing 96.4 PPG during the regular season in 23 games that had Garnett sitting in suits.

As for who wins straight out, and more importantly who can cover the 6 ½-points, we can revert back to last year when Boston went 2-0 SU in Game 7’s at home but were an even 1-1 ATS. Going further back reveals that the Celtics were blown out of the water at home in the 2004-05 conference quarterfinals, losing 97-70 as four-point favorites. Reggie Miller and the Pacers were able to outscore their counterparts in every single quarter while holding down Boston to shooting 37-percent from the field.

Chicago has seen it's fair share of moments in this same spot but with different results. In the eight total games played in Game 7 scenarios, the Bulls have gone 3-5. But the most interesting of facts is that Chi-Town has yet to take a Game 7 from an opponent on the road.

This will be the 101st Game 7 that has taken place in the history of the NBA. Putting this in perspective, only six of those 100 games extended past regulation. Coming full circle, Boston was in two of those magical moments (1957 and 1962), winning outright.

Some numbers which go against Boston’s chances at covering are a 6-16 ATS record in the last 22 home games where the total has been set between 195 and 199 ½ and a 1-6 ATS slump in the last seven when coming off a SU loss on the road in a home contest.

The real question to ask yourself is can Game 7 truly live up to the expectations that the series has crafted? If not then we’ll remember this first round, best of seven as just another handful of games that set the playoffs in motion.

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Re: NBA News and Notes Saturday 5/2

NBA Today

SCOREBOARD


Saturday, May 2

Chicago at Boston (8 p.m. EDT). The Celtics play a Game 7 in the first round for the second straight year, completing their thrilling series with the Bulls that has included four overtime games. Boston routed Atlanta last year in a decisive first-round game on its way to its 17th NBA title.

STARS

Friday

— Dwyane Wade and Michael Beasley, Heat. Wade scored 41 points, Beasley busted out of a slump with 22 points and 15 rebounds, and Miami to beat Atlanta 98-72 in Game 6 and even their first-round series.

STATUS

The NBA decided not to take any additional action against Boston guard Rajon Rondo for his skirmish with Chicago’s Kirk Hinrich in Game 6 on Thursday night. The league said Friday the first-quarter play would stand as a flagrant foul against Rondo. It could have upgraded the foul or even suspended him for Game 7.

SIXERS’ NO-SHOWS

Andre Miller and Theo Ratliff missed the Philadelphia 76ers’ final team meeting on Friday. Miller’s agent blamed the point guard’s absence on miscommunication between Miller and the team. Both veterans are unrestricted free agents and the no-shows at the team meeting further soured the mood of a franchise that was embarrassed a night earlier in a Game 6 season-ending playoff loss at home against the Orlando Magic.

SPEAKING

“No pressure on us. We’re the underdogs in this series.”—Miami star Dwyane Wade after scoring 41 points in the Heat’s 98-72 Game 6 victory Friday night. Game 7 is Sunday in Atlanta.

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Re: NBA News and Notes Saturday 5/2

Chicago Bulls vs. Boston Celtics

The Bulls forced a Game 7 by defeating the Celtics 128-127 in triple overtime on Thursday. The Bulls failed to cover the 3-point spread, while the combined score sailed OVER the posted total of 195.5.

John Salmons led the Bulls with 35 points, while Derrick Rose added 28, and Brad Miller chipped in with 23 points.

Ray Allen tossed in a game-high 51 points in a losing effort for the Celtics.

Team records:
Chicago: 41-41 SU, 42-39-1 ATS
Boston: 62-20 SU, 43-39 ATS

Chicago most recently:
When playing on Saturday are 4-6
After playing Boston are 6-4
After a win are 6-4

Boston most recently:
When playing on Saturday are 6-4
After playing Chicago are 7-3
After a loss are 8-2

A few trends to consider:
Chicago is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games on the road
The total has gone OVER in 7 of Chicago's last 8 games when playing Boston
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Chicago's last 7 games when playing on the road against Boston
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Chicago's last 6 games
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Boston's last 5 games at home
Boston is 11-1 SU in its last 12 games at home
The total has gone OVER in 7 of Boston's last 8 games
The total has gone OVER in 7 of Boston's last 8 games when playing Chicago

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Re: NBA News and Notes Saturday 5/2

CHICAGO (44 - 44) at BOSTON (65 - 23)
Top Trends for this game.
CHICAGO is 14-26 ATS (-14.6 Units) against Atlantic division opponents over the last 2 seasons.
BOSTON is 112-82 ATS (+21.8 Units) in all games over the last 2 seasons.
BOSTON is 85-70 ATS (+8.0 Units) as a favorite over the last 2 seasons.
BOSTON is 40-27 ATS (+10.3 Units) after scoring 105 points or more over the last 2 seasons.
BOSTON is 58-38 ATS (+16.2 Units) versus poor defensive teams - allowing 99+ points/game over the last 2 seasons.
CHICAGO is 15-5 ATS (+9.5 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record - 2nd half of the season this season.
CHICAGO is 21-12 ATS (+7.8 Units) versus good offensive teams - scoring 99+ points/game this season.
BOSTON is 56-82 ATS (-34.2 Units) after 3 or more consecutive overs since 1996.
BOSTON is 128-164 ATS (-52.4 Units) in home games revenging a loss vs opponent since 1996.
BOSTON is 60-89 ATS (-37.9 Units) in home games after allowing 105 points or more since 1996.

Head-to-Head Series History
BOSTON is 9-6 against the spread versus CHICAGO over the last 3 seasons
BOSTON is 9-7 straight up against CHICAGO over the last 3 seasons
9 of 15 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons 

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CHICAGO vs. BOSTON
Chicago is 1-6 SU in its last 7 games when playing on the road against Boston
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Chicago's last 7 games when playing on the road against Boston
Boston is 5-14 ATS in its last 19 games at home
Boston is 11-1 SU in its last 12 games at home

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Re: NBA News and Notes Saturday 5/2

(7) Chicago (3-3, 3-2-1 ATS) at (2) Boston (3-3, 2-3-1 ATS)

Arguably the most thrilling first-round series in NBA playoffs history comes down to a winner-takes-all Game 7, as the defending-champion Celtics host the upstart Bulls at TD Banknorth Garden.

Chicago needed three overtimes to stay alive in Game 6 on Thursday, winning 128-127 but failing to cover as a three-point home favorite. It was the fourth time in six games – and the third time in a row – that these teams failed to finish in regulation. Two of the four overtime games have required multiple sessions, and with the exception of Boston’s 107-86 blowout victory in Game 3 in Chicago, the other five contests have been decided by a total of 11 points – all by three points or less.

John Salmons (35 points), rookie Derrick Rose (28 points, eight rebounds, seven assists) and Game 5 goat Brad Miller (23 points, 10 rebounds) led the way for the Bulls in Game 6, with Rose blocking Rajon Rondo’s game-winning attempt in the waning seconds of the third overtime to seal it. Chicago shot 49.5 percent from the field, going 9-for-17 from three-point land, and it survived despite an off night from injured shooting guard Ben Gordon, who had 12 points and fouled out after 31 minutes.

Boston was pushed to this Game 7 despite the heroic play of Ray Allen, who had a career-playoff high 51 points and tied a postseason record with nine three-pointers (on 18 attempts). Glen Davis added 23 points and seven rebounds, while Paul Pierce chipped in 22 points and nine boards, but both fouled out in overtime. The Celtics shot just 43.4 percent, going 11-for-31 from three-point land, and although Rondo had 19 assists and nine rebounds, the talented point guard was limited to a series-low eight points.

The winning team has scored at least 105 points in every game of this series, and both teams have topped the century mark in five of the six contests. Boston is averaging 117.2 points per game in this series, while Chicago is netting 113.7 ppg. The Celtics have scored 100 or more in 14 of their last 15 games, and the Bulls have accomplished that feat in 21 of their last 27 contests, averaging 108 ppg during this stretch.

Boston is now 15-5 SU in its last 20 games overall, but just 6-6-1 ATS in its last 12. Chicago is on a 15-7 SU roll, going 7-5-1 ATS in its last 13.

Boston is now 9-4 SU in the last 13 meetings with the Bulls and 9-4-1 ATS in the last 14. However, Chicago is 4-2-1 ATS in the six clashes since March 17. Also, the underdog is 6-0-1 ATS during this seven-meeting stretch after the favorite had cashed in each of the previous nine in this rivalry.

Prior to the start of this series, the Celtics had won and covered four straight at home against Chicago over the past two seasons, winning by margins of 18, 16, 23 and 25 points. However, the Bulls easily got the money in the first three games of this series in Boston, twice cashing as an 8½-point underdog and then as a 7½-point pup in Game 5.

Despite the non-cover in Game 6, the Bulls are still in the midst of pointspread streaks that include 5-0 on the road (all as an underdog), 16-5-1 as an underdog regardless of venue, 7-1-1 when catching between five and 10½ points, 4-0-1 after a non-cover, 6-2-1 in first-round postseason games and 5-2-1 versus winning teams,

The Celtics are 22-10 ATS in their last 32 games on Saturday and they’ve cashed in seven of their last 10 playing on one day of rest. Aside from that, though, it’s all negative pointspread trends for Doc Rivers’ squad, including 5-14 at home (all as a chalk), 7-15 as a favorite, 2-5 when laying points in the playoffs, 2-8 after a SU loss, 1-4-1 after an ATS win and 1-11 when favored by five to 10½ points in the playoffs.

The over is 7-1 in the last eight meetings between these teams, including 5-1 in this series and 3-0 in the three games played in Boston. Additionally, for the Celtics, the over is on streaks of 7-1 overall, 20-7 against the Eastern Conference, 9-2 in first-round postseason games and 6-1 when playing on one day of rest. Finally, the Bulls are on “over” stretches of 16-6 as an underdog, 6-0 when catching points in the playoffs, 9-2 in first-round playoff action, 11-4 against the Atlantic Division, 7-1 against winning teams and 4-1 on Saturday.

ATS ADVANTAGE: CHICAGO and OVER

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