NBA Odds: Boston Celtics visit Chicago Bulls

By: Adam Markowitz | Friday, January 7, 2011
Luol Deng

Luol Deng is averaging 21.4 per game over Chicago’s last five contests.

It's hasn't been the most pleasant couple of weeks in the world for NBA betting fans of the Boston Celtics. The C's might be 5-3 in their last eight games straight up, something that head coach Doc Rivers won't be overly upset about, but we are certainly disgusted by the 2-6 ATS effort.

They'll try to right the ship on Saturday night at the United Center when they take on the Chicago Bulls in a game that will be televised on WGN beginning at 5 p.m. PT.

Of course, it's hard to blame Boston, which was without Rajon Rondo for seven games with an ankle injury and has been without Kevin Garnett since the second half of the December 29 game against the Detroit Pistons. Rondo is back though, and my, did he have himself a wail of an effort against the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night. Rondo came up with 12 points, a whopping 22 assists and 10 boards for his 13th double-double and his second triple-double of the campaign.

The former Kentucky Wildcat might not be getting his points at just 10.7 per game, but he still leads the NBA in assists at 14.0 per night.

When you're talking about scoring though, particularly with KG out of the fold, you have to talk about "The Captain," Paul Pierce. The 6-foot-seven forward is putting up 19.0 PPG and is closely followed by Ray Allen at 17.5 PPG. These two are both shooting better than 50 percent from the field, and this is why Rivers' bunch is shooting 50.3 percent as a team, easily the best mark in the NBA.

Defense is crucial for the Celtics, though, and they do it better than anyone else in the league, allowing just 91.1 PPG.

Chicago head coach Tom Thibodeau was the director of the Boston defense for a number of years but has taken his trade to the Windy City, now guiding the Bulls who are well on their way to winning the Central Division. With a comfortable eight-game lead in tote going into Friday night's battle at Philadelphia, the Bulls try to pick up the pieces from a horrifying 96-94 loss to the New Jersey Nets, which snapped a five-game winning streak.

Thibodeau hasn't quite instilled the same type of defensive intensity with the Bulls as he did with Boston, but they are only allowing 94.0 PPG and have kept teams to the second-lowest shooting percentage in the league at 43.0 percent.

Derrick Rose is legitimately an MVP candidate, averaging 23.8 PPG and 8.3 APG out of the point guard spot. With Joakim Noah out of the lineup, Carlos Boozer has to shine as well. The newly acquired Bull is putting up 19.7 PPG and 9.9 RPG. Luol Deng is also helping inside with 18.0 PPG and 6.0 RPG.

Boston has won both of the previous meetings this season, but is only 1-1 ATS to show for the two meetings. Dating back to the epic 2009 playoff series between the two rivals, the Celtics are a stellar 5-3 ATS and 5-3 SU. They are also 6-2-1 ATS in their last nine appearances here in the Windy City.

The C's are 11-5 ATS in their last 16 road games, but they are just 1-4 ATS in the second leg of a back to back. Boston plays at home against the Toronto Raptors on Friday night.

Chicago is 7-3 ATS in its last 10 duels played here at the United Center, but just like Boston, it has its own problems. The Bulls are just 2-5 ATS in their last seven overall, all of which have come against Eastern Conference teams.

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