Bad news for the Bulls: Derrick Rose has declared he might not return to action this season, insisting he won’t try to play against until he’s “110 per cent” following the ACL injury he sustained last May. The 2011 NBA Most Valuable Player hasn’t ruled out a comeback in time for the play-offs and while the presence of Rose would give Chicago an outside shot at the title, they’ve got no chance if he’s watching from the sidelines.
The Bulls won’t get any sympathy when they visit Boston on Wednesday night with the Celtics adding Leandro Barbosa to the list of absentees for the remainder of the season after the Brazilian joined Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger on the casualty list. It’s left Boston with threadbare resources in their backcourt and although they’re 7-3 over their last ten games, it’s going to be a scrap for them to remain in the play-off race.
The Bulls will try to murder their hosts with tight defence but they’ve been hindered by Kirk Hinrich’s own recent absence, losing four of their last six in a run of games against quality opponents. It could keep the total points tally under 183.0, available at 1.91, with the Celtics marginal favourites on the handicap at -1.0 in a game that could go either way.
With two disappointing losses from their last three games, the New York Knicks could use a little pick-me-up before the All Star break and levity might arrive tonight in the form of the Toronto Raptors. But the Commonwealth’s finest are no longer the pushovers of the north, winning their last three, including defeats of Indiana and Denver.
We should see an intriguing battle between their recent acquisition Rudy Gay and the Knicks Carmelo Anthony, who has maintained his scoring surge while others have struggled, averaging a league-high 29 points per game. New York is at -8.5 on the handicap but Toronto have the form to overcome the odds.
Bet of the Day: Go under 183.0 total points in Bulls-Celtics.