With a playoff spot already locked up, the Chicago Bulls will continue their march towards the top seed in the East when they host the struggling Denver Nuggets. Game time is 8:00 PM ET at the United Center in Chicago where the Bulls are favored.
The Bulls (40-10 SU, 30-20 ATS) amazingly clinched a playoff spot with a dramatic 102-101 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Saturday night. Luol Deng’s put back of a blocked shot at the buzzer proved to be the difference. Carlos Boozer had 24 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Bulls while Deng added 23 points and 10 boards. Earl Watson, starting in place of Derek Rose, had 23 points.
Rose has now missed five straight games with a groin injury but the Bulls haven’t missed a beat without him, going 4-1 SU, 3-2 ATS and 4-1 to the under. Overall Chicago is 8-2 SU and 5-5 ATS in its last 10 games. Rose is listed as questionable bordering on doubtful for tonight’s game.
Too much Love
Take it from Denver—there is such a thing as getting too much Love, as inKevin Love, who followed up his amazing 51-point effort on Friday with 30 points and 21 rebounds in Sunday’s 117-100 blowout of the Nuggets. Luke Ridnour had 25 points and six assists, and Wayne Ellington added 17 points for the Timberwolves.
Kenneth Faried had 17 points and Andrew Miller added 14. JaVale McGee had 13 points and 11 rebounds for Denver which had won 17 of its previous 18 meetings in the series.
The Nuggets are 2-6 SU in its last eight road games and have dropped the first two games of a seven-game road trip. They’ve also been a money pit, going 1-6 ATS in its last seven outings and 2-8 vs. the number in its last 10 games.
P.S. Love is just the 10th player since 1985 to have a 30/20 game against Denver, and the first since Zach Randolph did it in Dec. 2009. Love is also the leader among active players with seven, 30/20 performances.
Defense or lack thereof has been the Nuggets’ biggest shortcoming this season. Denver is next to last in the NBA in points allowed at 102.2 points per game and is 27th in the league in field goal percentage (46.1). Only New Jersey allows a higher percentage from beyond the arc than the Nuggets do (37.9).
Denver has allowed an average of 117.3 points per game over the last three games and has given up at least 100 points in seven of its last 10 outings.
Doing the splits
The home and road statistical comparisons slightly favor the Nuggets who are just 11-10 SU on the road but a staggering 15-6 ATS. Denver is 14-7 to the ‘over’ and is averaging 105.6 points per game while allowing 104 ppg.
Chicago has been nearly unbeatable at home going 20-4 SU but is just 12-12 ATS. The Bulls are 12-11-1 to the ‘under’ and are averaging 97 ppg while allowing 88.2 ppg.
Denver is 10-2 ATS in its last 12 games against the NBA Central Division but the home team is 6-1-1 in the last eight series meetings. The ‘over’ is 9-3 in the Nuggets last 12 games against theEastern Conference.
Harvey’s Take: Chicago has proved it can win without its best player and second best player and…Well, you get the picture. The depth on the Bulls is incredible and should be more than enough to beat a fading Denver team. My free NBA pick is a small one on Chicago and a slightly bigger one on the ‘over’.