The Bulls appeared to be in the head of the Nets early in the series suffocating Deron Williams and the rest of the offense and taking a 3-1 series lead. However, C.J. Carlesimo has made some adjustments and injuries have further slowed Chicago down. Suddenly, the two teams are meeting in Game 7 tonight with the series tied at 3-3.
Chicago has had some serious injury issues during the series. They entered the postseason already missing star Derrick Rose and with their strongest middle presence, Joakim Noah, starting the series with injury troubles. Game 6 saw most of the starting line-up either missing or ailing. Nate Robinson and Taj Gibson both played despite battling the flu, Luol Deng didn’t play and is a major doubt for Game 7, while Kirk Hinrich is also a doubt for tonight’s game after missing the previous two.
Hinrich’s presence is arguably the most missed. He did a superb defensive job on Williams through the first four games and his injury is of serious concern. Marco Belinelli did a decent job in the starting line-up, but the defensive play on the line is a concern for Tom Thibodeau. They will have to lean heavily on their front court of Noah, Carlos Boozer and Jimmy Butler both defensively and offensively.
Williams and the Nets have brought themselves back from the brink. They’ve had some tough games even with the injury hit Bulls. Thibodeau’s defensive structure has made it extremely challenging for Williams to run the sort of offense that he would clearly like to. He has transformed himself into something of a facilitator picking up 10 assists or more in four of the last five games. Still, there’s little doubt that he will need to score more than the 17 points he notched in Game 6.
Brooks Lopez has played well during the series as a scorer averaging 22.5 points per game. Lopez’s jump shot has been running for him and it is making him hard to stop. He will need to play his toughest game of the playoffs so far and compete hard against Noah to make sure that Brooklyn wins this series though.
Betting Preview: Brooklyn (-8) vs. Chicago
The Nets start as significant favorites in this game against the spread and that makes them a good team to bet against. The Nets have struggled against an injury plagued Bulls’ line-up and it can be expected that Thibodeau will have his team fired up for this game. Brooklyn might just have too much depth and be healthy enough to ensure that they don’t lose this game, but count on Chicago making it significantly tighter than eight points.
The Pick: Chicago (+8) [5dimes.eu]
Writer Record Against The Spread: 14-7