In: NBA Free Picks1 Apr 2012
156-104-1 Overall Record
Pro Basketball Predictions: Chicago Bulls (+5.5) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (-5.5) Over-Under 193
This should be the most hyped game of the day and one of the most hyped games of the regular NBA Season. It features the best team in the Eastern Conference, the Chicago Bulls with a NBA Best 42-11 record. The Bulls will face the best team in the Western Conference, the 39-12 Oklahoma City Thunder.
Yet this is not the most hyped game of the day, that honor belongs to the Miami Heat vs the Boston Celtics. The reason being is Derrick Rose continues to be out, nursing a groin injury, a much different injury than his back which has kept him out a bunch of other games this season.
Rose hasn’t played with the Bulls in their last 9 games. Yet the the team is 7-2 SU without him. The last game in which Rose played, he put up and impressive stat line: 32 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assist. So how does a team remain the best team in the association without it’s reigning MVP? Two words: Team Defense.
In their last 7 wins without Rose, the Bulls have allowed just 82 points a game. That’s a staggering number. You may think thats too small of a sample to really get an accurate average. Well the Bulls have won 14 games without Rose. In those games, the Bulls have allowed just 82 ppg. 14 games is very adequate.
Oklahoma City Thunder is a very talented team. However, they have one major weakness offensively. They take a ton of jump shots. This is my key for this game. Chicago Bulls will be able to slow down the thunder for that reason alone. You don’t beat great defensive teams with jump shots. Jump shots are low percentage shots anyways, against a good defense they become that much tougher.
Oklahoma City played the Bulls 4 times last season. It was a 2-2 split, but the biggest trend in that 4 game series is the fact that Oklahoma City averaged just 95 ppg. During that 2010-2011 NBA Season the Thunder was the 5th best offensive team in the league scoring 105 ppg. That’s 10 ppg difference.
Its pretty much the same Thunder team this year versus a better Bulls team. Without Rose, it’s a better defensive team.
Without Rose, the Bulls are not near as competent offensively. This is a huge advantage for the Thunder. Oklahoma City is not a great defensive team allowing 97 ppg, 18th in the league. However, this is a below average Bulls offensive without Rose. There is no Super star. Oklahoma City can get it done against a defensive team like this.
Bottom line is I expect the first team to reach 90 points to win this game. I love this under.