Bulls vs. Celtics Pick NBA – November 2nd

We notched a relatively easy winner last night to get back to 75% on the young NBA season.  I call it EASY, because we were getting points and our team led the whole way.  Except for the final 1.4 seconds.  Oh the cursed life of a Sixers fan!  The Sixers controlled the game, even leading by 18 points at one juncture only to be foiled by two really bad Joel Embiid turnovers in the final minute of the game and a pair of game winning free throws by Serge Ibaka after TJ McConnell’s intentional foul with 1.4 seconds to prevent a game winning layup.  The game was still won, albeit at the charity stripe, and the Sixers GAVE AWAY their second winnable home game of the season.

Tough loss, and, not to be cheeky, but “part of the process” of a young team without a definitive NBA “A Player” to close out games.

Elsewhere, two really interesting results in the Western Conference.  San Antonio lost a home game to the Utah Jazz who are still awaiting the return of Gordon Hayward.  Lest you dismiss this as a simple example of a good team winning a tough game, keep in mind the Spurs were on full rest, healthy, and went 40-1 last season at home.  A road win by the Jazz is a BIG deal.  Likewise, the Blazers have had some home success against the Warriors, highlighted by Dame’s insanity last season, dropping 51 on the Warriors and letting the world know he is a superstar.  Last night?  The Warriors won with EASE in the artist formerly known as The Rose Garden, and for the first time this season LOOKED like the team many (including me) think could win an again-record number of games.  I don’t want to make any picks too early, especially with no line released, but I think the Thunder are awaiting a giant ass-kicking on Thursday night from the Dubs…

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Today’s Free Pick:

Chicago Bulls at Boston Celtics -3.5 (Total: 210)

I love this game.  The potential for a jarring regression to the mean is so strong I’d call it “probably” more than “possible.”  The Bulls have been the talk of the NBA this season with their hot start, buoyed by their hot shooting.  Key word: HOT shooting.  As in, “illogically better than expected,” as in “soon to plummet to the mean,” as in “the rent is just about due.”

Dwyane Wade has been a below average and reluctant three point shooter for more than a decade and a half of televised high-level basketball.  He is currently shooting 56% from distance.  Jimmy Butler, more a scorer than a “shooter” is shooting 55% from range.  These are unsustainable.  No other way to put it.  They cannot continue.

Tonight, on the road, against a good opponent, is a really good night for that inevitable regression to begin.  Look for Boston to contend shots on the perimeter, but frankly, not really HAVE to with Wade and Butler.  Mirotic and McBuckets?  Yes, get a hand up.   Wade and Butler?  I’ll take my chances over the larger sample size.

A week ago, we ALL thought Boston was clearly better than Chicago.  Now, after a few great shooting nights at home, we are willing to call this game a near pick em with the only spread being the home court?  I’ll take Boston and gladly swallow three and a half points.

To make things even nicer for the Celtics, they get Marcus Smart back tonight, a tenacious perimeter defender and rebounder for a guard, to add depth to the rotation of Thomas and Bradley.

I love Boston tonight at home.

Free Pick:  Boston Celtics -3.5