NBA Picks: Hawks at Bulls Game 5 Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 5/10/2011
A series that many expected to be a sweep is now down to a best-of-three as the Chicago Bulls host the Atlanta Hawks for Game 5 on Tuesday night. It’s not that the Hawks don’t have talent, it’s just that they don’t focus that often. But they certainly have at times in this series.
Perhaps no one player sums up Atlanta’s Jekyll-and-Hyde personality more than Josh Smith. When he’s on, Smith is easily a Top-10, if not higher, player in the NBA. It’s just that he looks rather disinterested at times. In Atlanta’s Game 4 100-88 win, Smith was clearly interested as he was the best player on the court at times with 23 points, 16 rebounds and eight assists as the Hawks ended a nine-game home losing streak in the second round, dating way back to 1996. The Hawks closed Sunday’s game on a 16-4 run – Smith had 11 of his 23 points in the final quarter. Entering that game he had been shooting just 35.9 percent and averaging 12.7 points vs. Chicago. Smith played mostly small forward in a "big" lineup by Coach Larry Drew that saw Jason Collins start at center and Marvin Williams go to the bench.
Hawks at Bulls Betting Story Lines
When you become the youngest player in NBA history to win the regular-season MVP award, your game is going to be more scrutinized. And that is certainly happening to Bulls star point guard Derrick Rose. Suddenly these Bulls are resembling Michael Jordan’s early teams – Jordan took all the shots and the rest of the team kind of cowered to the side. Rose took a whopping 32 shots in Game 4 and made just 12. When he shot 27 times and scored a career high 44 points in Game 3 not much was made of it because his jumper was falling. In Game 4 it wasn’t. Here is a cool stat: on 25 possessions in Game 4, Rose never passed after crossing halfcourt or receiving an inbounds pass. On those, Rose shot 7-for-22 and drew three fouls, scoring 21 points. Meanwhile, Rose after passing went 5-for-10 and scored 13 points and assisted on 22 other points.
For once Carlos Boozer was actually playing well in Game 4. But he had just one shot in more than seven minutes of fourth-quarter action. Boozer scored 18 points -- his Bulls' playoff high -- but missed his only shot in 7:38 of playing time in the fourth. And no one else stepped up offensively. Kyle Korver missed all five three-pointers he attempted, and the bench had only 14 points. Luol Deng had just 13 points on 5-for-14 shooting. The Bulls got all of five total points from their shooting guard position. Chicago, the best fourth-quarter team of the regular season with a +187 scoring margin, was outscored 33-19 in that frame.
Hawks at Bulls Betting Odds and Key Trends
Chicago opened as an 8.5-point favorite with the total at 181, according to NBA odds.
Atlanta is 7-2 ATS in its past nine after a win.
The Bulls are 2-8 ATS in their past 10 at home vs. a team with a losing road record.
The ‘under’ is 5-0 in Atlanta’s last 5 after scoring 100 points or more in its previous game.
The ‘under’ is 5-1 in Chicago’s past 6 after allowing 100 points or more in its previous game.
NBA Picks: Hawks at Bulls Predictions
So which Josh Smith shows up? Which Joe Johnson? The Johnson who starred in Game 1 and then had 24 in Game 4 or the one who faded to 16 in Game 2 and 10 in Game 3?
Yet despite all those issues mentioned above, the Bulls were ahead after three quarters of Game 4. Rose had two turnovers and missed two shots in the final four minutes of Game 4 and that’s unlikely to happen again. Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau no doubt will adjust to Atlanta’s new “big” lineup – the Hawks started Collins to help keep Rose from the basket. The Bulls outrebounded Atlanta only 37-36 while it was the Hawks with the second chance points edge at 15-10 and a 56-40 margin in points in the paint. Can’t see those numbers happening again, either. However, I do think the focused Hawks show up and keep the game close. Take Atlanta and the points and the ‘under’.
Allen Eastman has been dominating the NBA odds lately and his NBA picks have tallied an 15-8run for the NBA Playoffs. His NBA handicapping is considered amongst the top in the nation and he has another strong card coming for Tuesday. Click Here to buy a one-day package for only $29.
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