The Brooklyn Nets travel to face the Chicago Bulls in an interesting Eastern conference match-up between two teams that both should be set to make make the NBA playoffs. The two teams have split the season series 1-1 so far with the home team winning on each occasion.
The Bulls have had troubles generating offense all season long without star point guard Derrick Rose. They won just five of 13 games in February and a stumbling offense was a big part of that problem. They average just 92.62 points per game and have been averaging around 85 points per game over their last five to 10 games.
Joakim Noah put in a fantastic game scoring 21 points, picking up 21 rebounds and putting down 11 blocks to drive Chicago to a much needed victory in their latest game against the Philadelphia 76ers. However, the fact is that Tom Thibodeau’s team has been struggling lately because they have not been running an efficient offense.
The Bulls are still extremely reliant upon their front line and it has been affecting them with opposing teams really attacking and playing aggressively against Chicago’s guards.
Meanwhile, the Nets continue to be consistently inconsistent. Brooklyn has generally been an extremely strong defensive team during the season limiting opponents to just over 90 points per game over their last five road games. The Nets are tied for the third best road record in the Eastern conference and have been the most in-form team away from home in recent weeks.
Still, Brooklyn has struggled for results lately. Joe Johnson continues to produce only erratically, Brooks Lopez is talented, but very raw and will undoubtedly be challenged fiercely by the likes of Noah, Taj Gibson and Carlos Boozer.
Defensively, Chicago have had the match-up against Brooklyn defensively so far this season and if they can get their offense working a little more effectively at home, then this is a match-up that they should be able to contest strongly.
Betting Preview: Chicago (+5) vs. Brooklyn
The Nets definitely have a shot at this game given their recent road form, but it’s hard to see it being especially high-scoring given the fact that the Bulls are at home and that neither team has scored many points in the 2012/13 season.
Added to that is the fact that neither of Brooklyn’s top two guards Williams and Johnson have shown the ability to turn their game on at the right time. The reality is that Chicago will have a real shot to win their second straight game and to break out of a recent funk that has seen them go 4-6 in their past 10 games. Betting that this game will be decided by fewer than five points is the most sensible pick.
The Pick: The Bulls (+5) (5dimes.eu)