Free NBA Pick Nets vs. Bulls 2014
Brooklyn Nets (24-26, 8-15 away) @ Chicago Bulls (26-25, 14-10 home) 02/13- 8:00PM EST
Line: CHI -3.5
For the first time in more than three long months, the Chicago Bulls have a chance to go two games above the .500 mark with a victory Thursday night against the visiting Brooklyn Nets.
Despite the loss of Derick Rose earlier in the season, the Bulls (26-25) have still been playing hard, especially the likes of All-Star Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson and now with the expected return of Carlos Boozer (calf strain) back, the Bulls will be in search of their fourth victory in five games as they get ready for the All-Star break.
On Tuesday night against the Atlanta Hawks in their 100-85 home win, Gibson scored a game-high 24 points and 12 boards but it was Noah who was a one man show recording his fourth career triple-double with 19 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists.
Noah has been getting it done all season for the most part and over his last four games has averaged 15.0 points, 13.3 rebounds and 6.8 assists. Against the Nets in his last five contests, Noah has been effective as well averaging 14.8 points and 10.8 rebounds… including last year’s first-round series that the Bulls won in seven games.
“I think the big thing is he’s healthy. He’s gotten into rhythm,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “I think missing camp set him back offensively. Defensively, he’s been terrific all year.”
Gibson has been terrific over his last three games in place of Boozer averaging 22.7 points and 10.3 rebounds but Thibodeau will send Gibson back to the bench to give the second unit a lift. Boozer, the teams starting forward, leads the team in scoring with 14.8 points per game.
As for Brooklyn (24-26), the seasons early first half proved horrendous, but now have seem to have found their way as of late and will be looking for their fifth win in six games and also to avenge a 95-78 home loss to the Bulls back on Christmas day.
The Nets had high expectations with their veteran players and talent coming into the 2013-14 season, but now may be finally finding their groove as well. Point guard Deron Williams (6.7 assists), power forward Paul Pierce (13.4 ppg) and center Kevin Garnett (6.9 ppg) are the cornerstones of the team.
“A veteran ballclub understands that the games right before the break are important because you’re planning vacations, or planning to go to All-Star weekend, and sometimes the game becomes secondary,” coach Jason Kidd said. “A lot of the guys, for the most part, didn’t play a lot of minutes, so we’ll see what happens (in Chicago).
Both teams are not known for their offensive power, but the Bulls under Thibodeau pride themselves on defense allowing an average of just 92.7 points per game and it’s that defense the oddsmakers are counting on as they have made the Bulls a (minus -3.5) point favorite with an over/under of just 185.0, but get the latest lines on the game up until tip off right here at Wonder Punter.
The Nets have been playing well as of late and although they haven’t faired well in Chicago losing their last 12 of 15 games in the windy city, expect a tight, well fought game from both teams as they look to finish the first half of the season strong, but if Boozer is able to go…. I have to favor the Bulls.
By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter