In: NBA Free Picks18 Apr 2011
The Indiana Pacers have covered the spread in two straight games against the Chicago Bulls, but over the past ten meetings between these teams that feat has been a rarity. Covering the spread against the Bulls has been just slightly more rare than their ability to beat the Bulls straight up. The Bulls have won seven of the past ten meetings.
The Pacers pulled out a win against Chicago late in the regular season in mid-March with a 115-109 home-court win. The 115 points was the third highest points total given up by the Bulls in regulation this season. Their worst outing was way back in November, when the Bulls gave up 120 to the Knicks. Big points totals is something the Bulls just don’t give up that often, as they’re second in the NBA in points allowed, giving up just 91.3 points per game.
I’m going to go ahead and round up the Pacers’ 99 points Saturday to 100 points, and conclude that the Pacers have scored triple digits against the Bulls in two straight. While I don’t think the Pacers have found some magic formula against one the Association’s best defenses, I do believe they can continue to score against the Bulls, just as they have in the past two meetings.
The Pacers offense has been quite good down the stretch. A few weeks ago they scored 107 in a win against the Celtics, and then went on to score 111 against Detroit, 136 against the Wizards and 114 against the Hawks. The offensive surges by the Pacers became more common soon after Frank Vogel took over as head coach and put his system in place. The difference between the way the Pacers played against the Bulls pre-Vogel is like night, when compared the sun-shiny performances they’ve had in the two post-Vogel games.
After watching the first game, and taking a look back at the recent matchups between these two teams, I have little doubt the Bulls will win again tonight in front of their hometown crowd. However, the 12 points they are spotting the Pacers might be a bit much. I’m looking for the Pacers to cover in a third straight game against Chicago.
Pick: Take the Indiana Pacers (+12)