The Chicago Bulls’ first-round NBA postseason series against the Brooklyn Nets is going to be the most debated series of the entire first round. We’ll see what happens in Game 1 on Saturday.
NBA Playoffs – Eastern Conference First Round, Game 1:
(5) Chicago Bulls @ (4) Brooklyn Nets – Saturday, April 20
Sport betting line:
Why Chicago Will Win
When sports betting online, it is prudent to stick with the experienced team in the postseason. Chicago might be wounded at multiple positions, but unlike the Nets, the Bulls are used to the playoff grind. The Brooklyn roster certainly has some players (Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Reggie Evans) who have been through the postseason struggle in recent seasons, but they have some newbies as well. This is a series in which Brooklyn will feel more pressure to win. Accordingly, the Nets are likely to be tight and nervous at the beginning of the series. If Chicago can get an early split in Brooklyn, the Bulls could establish the clear upper hand and gain a psychological foothold in the series.
In a review, you will also see that the Nets were an up-and-down team this season. They were capable of greatness at times, especially during the stretches when Williams – a member of the United States Olympic team – unfurled his very best brand of basketball. However, Brooklyn also accessed some prolonged periods in which it could not do much of anything right. The Nets can shoot themselves out of games, and their defense is less than fully formidable. Chicago is happy to be playing Brooklyn in the first round.
Why Brooklyn Will Win
A pay per head bookie service that takes business on this contest might lean to the Nets because their opponent will be operating at well below full strength. It’s not just Derrick Rose who is deeply missed by the Chicago Bulls. The boys from the Windy City have been playing without Joakim Noah for much of the past few weeks. They haven’t been playing with Taj Gibson in recent days as well. Rose’s value to the Bulls is obvious, but one must hasten to point out that the Bulls’ fortunes in the first round of the 2012 playoffs didn’t fully deteriorate with him out of the lineup. Chicago was leading Philadelphia in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference first round series when Noah suffered an ankle injury. It was only then that the Bulls’ level of performance slipped to the point that Philadelphia could overtake Chicago. Noah’s combination of defense, shot blocking, and rebounding – made possible by his length and his acute court sense – provided head coach Tom Thibodeau with the kind of lockdown presence near the rim that freed the other defenders on the Bulls to stay with their assignments on the perimeter. Noah lent form and structure to Chicago’s defense and enabled the Bulls – in seasons past and present – to become formidable even when shots weren’t falling at the offensive end of the floor. If he’s not right, Brooklyn could romp.
Who Will Win?
The sense here is that while Chicago is wounded, Brooklyn is inconsistent and, moreover, a bit soft. The Bulls can punch the Nets in the mouth and win on the strength of their rugged defense.
NBA Betting Pick: Chicago