Yesterday was a pretty good day for Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose. His Bulls got a big win to pull their second round series with Atlanta even at one game a piece. His family got to attend the game and watch him play live and in person. Oh, and he became the youngest MVP in the HISTORY of the NBA last night when David Stern handed the humble twenty-two year old the well-deserved trophy.
So yeah, I guess you could say it was a pretty good day for D-Rose.
Rose played a solid all around floor game, scoring 25 points and dishing out 10 assists in the 86-73 win. Even bigger for the Bulls was the return of their vaunted defense. After giving up over 110 points in the opener, many were questioning whether Chicago had the foot speed to cover Atlanta’s bevy of perimeter penetrators.
That question was answered loudly by holding Atlanta to an incredible 26-77 (33.8%) from the floor.
Tonight, the Boston Celtics are going to need to find similar answers, or else their season could very well come to a close this weekend. Without further adieu, let’s get to tonight’s free picks.
Today’s Free NBA Picks:
Chicago Bulls -2 @ Atlanta Hawks (Total: 178)
The Bulls and Derrick Rose have yet to put together a good offensive game this series, but if their defense remains as stout as in Game Two, it won’t make a difference. The Bulls used their suffocating defense to even the series up at a game a piece, and are actually favored on the road tonight in Game Three at Atlanta.
The Bulls defense deserves credit for their most recent effort, but equal attention should be given to the Hawks shooting woes as well. It is unlikely they will shoot as well as they did in the opener, yet equally unlikely they shoot as poorly as they did in Game Two tonight at home.
Home rims are usually friendlier, and the Hawks have shown the can beat this Chicago team if they shoot well. I think they will tonight, and will hold serve at home over the Bulls. Chicago desperately needs Carlos Boozer to begin contributing – and I just don’t see it happening tonight. Gimme the Hawks getting points on their home floor.
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Los Angeles Lakers @ Dallas Mavericks -2
The Lakers, according to Andrew Bynum, have “trust issues.”
Watching their last two fourth-quarter implosions at home against the Mavs, I’d say trust isn’t the only problem on their growing laundry list of woes. Their problems include having absolutely no answer for Dirk Nowitski, having their guards absolutely dominated against the quickness of JJ Baraea (Ron Artest clothesline not withstanding), being befuddled by the craftiness of Jason Terry, and getting no production from Pao Gasol and Lamar Odom.
I’m not sure if this is the internal unraveling of a dynasty due to ego, pettiness, jealousy and fatigue – or if it is just a team with too many of their best players several years past their prime. Look at this LA roster; Derrick Fischer, Lamar Odom, Ron Artest, Kobe Bryant, all are on the downsides of good careers. They can still play at a high level, but maybe not quite at the highest level…
Dallas gets to head home tonight to a frenzied home crowd, with a chance to step on the throats of the wounded Lakers and put this series on ice. Don’t think for a second they haven’t grown tired of hearing about their 2-0 collapse in NBA Finals against the Heat several years ago. I think they come out focused, and continue to exploit the unraveling Lakers’ weaknesses. Gimme Dallas tonight in Big D