The Chicago Bulls look to rebound from a poor Game 2 performance when they visit the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night at 8:00 p.m. (ET). The series is tied 1-1.
First recapping Wednesday night, the Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Clippers are in a dogfight. The Grizzlies blew a 27-point lead in Game 1 (losing 99-98) before rebounding yesterday with a 105-98 win. The series shifts to Southern California with play resuming on Saturday.
Thursday has two games with two teams in must-win situations. The Knicks (+5) host Miami and trailing 2-0. The total is 186½. Amare Stoudemire will miss this game after the bonehead move of slamming his hand into a fire extinguisher case. Carmelo Anthony will move over to power forward, which makes the team much smaller.
Miami’s Chris Bosh is dealing with a personal situation, but is listed as probable on the Don Best injury report.
Oklahoma City is at Dallas on Thursday and leads 2-0. The Mavericks could have easily won the first two away games and did go 2-0 ATS. They opened as 1-point favorites for Game 3 before moving to the current -3½. The total is 194½.
There are three Friday games beginning with Atlanta (+8) at Boston at 7:30 p.m. (ET). The total is 173½. This spread is so high because Hawks power forward Josh Smith (knee) is now doubtful.
Boston did a great job getting the split in Atlanta, winning 87-80 in Game 2 despite point Rajon Rondo serving a 1-game suspension for bumping a referee. He’s back on Friday, although Ray Allen (knee) is still doubtful after missing the first two games.
The Lakers are at Denver at 10:30 p.m. (ET). The Nuggets are somewhat surprising 4-point favorites (204 total) despite losing the first two games in Socal (going 1-1 ATS). The Nuggets are 1-5 SU (3-3 ATS) overall against the Lakers this year, but Don Best NBA analyst Monte Scates thinks they can win this game if they push the tempo.
Getting back to Chicago and Philadelphia, the 76ers are 2-point home favorites with a total of 179½. The Bulls seemed deflated last game with Derrick Rose (knee) out for the season, losing 109-92 as 6½-point favorites despite leading by eight at the half (55-47).
Chicago’s new point guard tandem of C.J. Watson and John Lucas did a solid job with 27 points and seven assists last game. The real problem was Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng combining for just 17 points on 7-of-22 shooting.
Philadelphia is 19-14 SU and 17-16 ATS at home this year and point guard Jrue Holiday (26 points) seems to have his confidence up with Rose not guarding him. His play along with backcourt mate Evan Turner will be a big key on Friday.