I don’t know if the Celtics would have been shocked to have a scant half-game lead in the East heading into the final month of the regular season, had you told them that in October.
But I doubt if they thought it’d be the Chicago Bulls nipping at their heels. However, that’s exactly the case. The Bulls host the Jazz tonight, while Boston gets a night’s rest. Assuming the Bulls can defend their home court, which they have done remarkably well all season, they will wake up tomorrow tied for the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
If there was any consternation as to who the NBA Coach of the Year is, it can probably cease. Derrick Rose gets much of the credit, and it is certainly deserved, but it is Chicago’s commitment to the defensive end of the floor that is truly entering them into the cirlce of the NBA’s elite.
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Today’s Free NBA Picks:
Utah Jazz @ Chiacgo Bulls -10.5
Before you let the 10.5 scare you away from Chicago, remember this is not the same Utah Jazz team we’ve become used to. Gone is the venerable Coach Sloan. Gone via free agency is Carlos Boozer, and gone via bizarre trade is Derron Williams.
Gone also is any semblance of a winning team. The Jazz have gone 3-10 since the departure of Sloan, plummeting from “playoff team you feared in Round One” to “I hope our ping-pong ball pops up on Lottery night.”
Not only have the Jazz been losing, they’ve been losing ugly: By 22 to Minnesota, 23 to New York, losses to Golden State and Detroit. Not only have the Jazz slipped out of the Playoffs, they might be one of the five or six worst teams in the NBA.
Chiacgo, on the other hand, looks like they could legitiamatly win an NBA title. They defend as well as any team in the league – bad news for a Utah team, that for the first time in nearly 25 years, finds themselves without a true playmaker.
I like the Bulls to bury the heartless Jazz early and cruise to a comfy double-digit win.
PICK: Chicago Bulls -10.5 – Click here to bet it at BetED and get a $250 Bonus!!
San Antonio Spurs -1 @ Houston Rockets
The Spurs six game lead in the West seems to never shrink, and never grow. It just STAYS at six. The reason? They never seem to lose, and neither does Dallas or Los Angeles. They all keep cruising at their roughly 75-80% clip.
Laying one seems a pretty small price to pay for getting the NBA’s best team playing a non-playoff team in Houston. Houston has been playing better basketball, winning 11 of 16, and pulling to an even 33-33 on the season, however they still remain 2.5 games out of the 8th spot in the Western Conference.
I like the Spurs in this matchup no matter what, but to tip things even more permanently in their favor, Luis Scola, the Rockets leading rebounder and second leading scorer is likely out for tonight’s game.
Give me the Spurs putting out a great effort before the put this thing on cruise-control in about two more weeks.
PICK: San Antonio Spurs -1 – Click here to bet it at BetED and get a $250 Bonus!!