Nets at Bulls Game 3 Picks and NBA Betting Odds
by Alan Matthews - 4/24/2013
So is Thursday night's Game 3 of the Nets-Bulls series the game that Derrick Rose makes his season debut for Chicago? The stories continue that Rose looks totally dominant in practices, and the guy was medically cleared about two months ago. So what's the problem? He also looked pretty exuberant on the bench in Game 2, almost as if he was finally chomping at the bit to return.
However, it would be a total stunner if it happens at all in this series or this season. And, in fact, Rose's reputation has taken a major hit in the Windy City, especially after Bulls fans saw Joakim Noah play through an extremely painful foot injury in Monday's Game 2. Noah has been bothered by plantar fasciitis much of the season and was considered “doubtful” for Game 1. Rose might be the Bulls' best player, but Noah is their heart and soul. He played just 13 minutes in the opener and had four points and five rebounds, clearly struggling on the foot. The Bulls, one of the league's top defensive teams, were torched for 106 points as the Nets shot nearly 56 percent from the field.
No one was quite sure how many minutes Noah would play in Monday's Game 2, but he gutted it out for 25 and had 10 points and 11 rebounds -- his emotion and hustle couldn't be quantified. Brooklyn was held to 82 points and shot just 35.4 percent from the field as the Bulls got the split they wanted and stole away home-court advantage.
Nets at Bulls Betting Story Lines
Plantar fasciitis is becoming the theme of this series. That's because Nets shooting guard Joe Johnson is now battling that in his left foot. He missed practice on Wednesday and is being called a game-time decision for Thursday. Johnson has been so-so in this series, averaging 16.5 points on 41.9 percent from the field -- he has a history of struggling in the postseason. But Johnson is leaps and bounds better than the guy who would probably start in his place, former Bull Keith Bogans. He hasn't scored in 23 minutes in the first two games and is essentially a defense-only guy. C.J. Watson (who has played well) and MarShon Brooks likely would also extra minutes if Johnson sits; Brooks is considered a promising young player but has played only a total of three minutes in the first two games. I expect Johnson to play. Certainly Noah will again.
Whether the Nets can pull the upset probably depends on Deron Williams. He had been playing like a first-team All-NBA player since the all-star break and was great in the opener, scoring 22 points on 9-for-15 from the field with seven assists. The Nets were plus-24 when Williams was on the court. In Game 2, with Kirk Hinrich practically in his jersey the whole game, Williams was 1-for-9 from the field for eight points, and the Nets were minus-11 with him on the court.
Brooklyn coach P.J. Carlesimo wants the Nets to get more physical with Chicago after the Bulls outrebounded the Nets 44-39 and Brooklyn was 15-for-36 and outscored 42-30 inside. The problem is that New Jersey isn't really built that way. Seven-foot center Brook Lopez is an all-star, but he's a total finesse player and rarely down low. The Bulls play as physical as anyone with Noah and Carlos Boozer leading the way in the post -- and Hinrich, Luol Deng and Jimmy Butler on the perimeter.
Chicago won both home games against Brooklyn in the regular season: 83-82 on Dec. 15 when Williams missed a potential tying late shot; and 96-85 on March 2 behind a combined 41 points and 18 rebounds from Noah and Boozer.
Nets at Bulls Game 3 NBA Betting Odds and Key Trends
At WagerWeb, the Bulls are 3.5-point favorites with the total at 181. Brooklyn was 39-40-3 ATS this season (23-18 on road) and 41-40-1 “over/under” (20-20-1 on road). Chicago was 36-46 ATS (13-28 at home) and 37-44-1 O/U (16-24-1 at home).
The Nets are 4-0 ATS in their past four games playing on two days of rest. They have covered eight of their past 10 following an ATS loss. The Bulls are 3-7 ATS in their past 10 overall. They are 0-6 ATS in their past six following a win and 1-4 ATS in their past five home games. The over is 7-0 in Brooklyn's past seven after a loss. The over is 10-2 in the Nets' past 12 road games. The over is 10-1-1 in Chicago's past 12 playing on two days of rest. The over is 5-1 in the Bulls' past six home games. The road team has covered six of the past eight meetings. The under is 5-2 in the past seven in Chicago.
Nets at Bulls Picks and Betting Predictions
The good news for the Nets is that they won a franchise-record 23 road games this year, and the Bulls were a mediocre 24-17 at home. Chicago did, however, win six of its final seven there, including ending the Heat's 27-game winning streak and victories over the Knicks and Pacers. On the other hand, the Bulls also lost to Toronto at the United Center in that stretch and nearly did to Orlando, Detroit and Washington.
The Nets haven't won a Game 3 on the road since 2004, and I don't see it happening here. Chicago has its confidence back after the Game 1 stinker. The extra day off should help Noah, and Johnson clearly isn't 100 percent. That type of injury would seem to affect a guard much more than a center because guards are always cutting and running through screens. Take the Bulls and the under.
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