CHICAGO BULLS (30-21)
at BOSTON CELTICS (27-24)
Tip-off: Wednesday, 7:35 p.m. ET
Line: Boston -2, Total: 182
The Celtics look to extend their home winning streak to seven games (SU and ATS) when they wrap up their season series with the scuffling Bulls on Wednesday night.
Chicago is in the midst of a horrible scheduling stretch that has them playing 10 road games in a 12-game span, with the only two tilts at United Center coming against the No. 1 seeds in each conference, San Antonio and Miami. The Bulls' 14-point loss to the Spurs on Monday makes them 1-3 (SU and ATS) in the past four games overall. Boston had won seven straight (SU and ATS) before its loss at Charlotte on Monday that came just one day after a triple-overtime victory over Denver. Chicago has dominated this series since the start of the 2011 calendar year, going 7-2 (SU and ATS) against the Celtics, including a 100-99 overtime win in Boston when these teams last met on Jan. 18.
Can the Celtics extend their home win streak on Wednesday night? For the answer, connect to NBA Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. For NBA Best Bets, StatFox Scott is in the midst of a monster run, going 14-2 ATS (88%) since Feb. 3, and improving his record to an impressive 57.1% ATS (84-63-1) for the season. The experts are a collective 48-34 ATS (59%) in the month of February. StatFox Gary is 6-3 ATS (67%) in the past eight days, while StatFox Dave is 14-12 ATS (54%) during the month. For NBA Totals, the experts are a strong 41-31-1 (57%) in the past 19 days with Gary at 16-9 (64%) and StatFox Brian going 13-10-1 (57%) since Jan. 25. For the season, Scott is a whopping 57% (74-57) in Totals, while Gary is a profitable 52% (67-62-4).
Chicago boasts the third-best scoring defense in the NBA (91.9 PPG) and also ranks third in FG Pct. defense (43% FG). However, these numbers have risen to 107.8 PPG and 53% FG in the past four games. But the offense has been outstanding over this span with 107.8 PPG on 53% FG, 42% threes and 79% FT. SF Luol Deng (16.9 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 3.0 APG), leads the team in scoring, but he's been underperforming since returning from a hamstring injury, averaging a mere 14.6 PPG on 35% FG (21% threes) in the past eight games. But he's played well against Boston this season with 16.7 PPG (49% FG) and 5.3 RPG. PF Carlos Boozer (15.8 PPG, 9.3 RPG) finally looks healthy after missing time because of an injured hamstring, scoring 17.0 PPG in just 27.7 MPG in his past three contests. He's been a beast on the boards against Boston's weak interior, tallying 18.3 PPG and 12.0 RPG in the season series against the Celtics. C Joakim Noah (11.8 PPG, 11.3 RPG), has also been tough to handle for Boston, averaging 14.0 PPG and 12.3 RPG in three meetings with the C's this season. His foot injury appears to be a thing of the past with 9.5 PPG, 13.0 RPG, 4.0 APG and 2.0 SPG in the past two games. With PG Kirk Hinrich (7.0 PPG, 5.2 APG) out indefinitely with an arm injury, PG Nate Robinson (12.1 PPG, 4.2 APG) has blossomed as a starter, averaging 17.2 PPG (15-of-31 threes) and 8.3 APG in the past six games where he's logged 38.8 MPG in these contests. SG Marco Belinelli (9.6 PPG) has been bothered by an ankle injury, scoring just 7.5 PPG in the past two games, but SG Richard Hamilton (10.9 PPG) could be busting out of a slump after scoring 16 points on 8-of-11 FG in Monday's loss to the Spurs.
Boston has a mediocre offense (96.3 PPG) and is a horrible rebounding team (40.0 RPG, 2nd-worst in NBA). But the Celtics are a quality defensive squad, allowing just 96.3 PPG (10th in league) on 44.1% FG (8th in NBA). SF Paul Pierce (18.7 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 4.4 APG) has contributed in many areas, but has shot just 41.9% FG this season. However, in his past five games, Pierce has posted impressive numbers of 19.6 PPG, 9.0 RPG and 7.6 APG. He has not enjoyed facing the Bulls though, with just 13.0 PPG on 38% FG in the three meetings this season. PF Kevin Garnett (15.2 PPG, 7.6 RPG) has scored at least 15 points in four straight games, averaging 19.5 PPG and 11.5 RPG over this span. But he's shot just 39% FG this season versus Chicago posting a pedestrian 13.7 PPG and 6.7 RPG in the series. With both PG Rajon Rondo and SG Leandro Barbosa out for the season with torn ACL injuries, PG Avery Bradley (8.5 PPG) and SG Jason Terry (10.4 PPG) will continue to play significantly more minutes. Bradley has 10.3 PPG and 2.7 SPG in the past three games, while committing just four turnovers in 114 minutes of action. Terry has been red-hot shooting the basketball in his past three contests, scoring 17.7 PPG on 53% FG. In Boston's last home game Sunday versus Denver, Terry scored a season-high 26 points.