Losing three out of five might have taken the sheen off the Chicago Bulls. But no team is under greater scrutiny than the Miami Heat.
At least the Bulls have an excuse in the absence of reigning MVP Derrick Rose who has missed 13 of the last 14 games for the Eastern Conference pacesetters. The Heat arrive in Chicago for Thursday’s marquee clash with questions posed over their toughness, focus and their defensive mentality.
Winning just five of their last 10, Miami’s woes were underlined on Tuesday when Boston arrived in South Beach and pulled out a 115-107 win that had Heat coach Erik Spoelstra admitting his side needs to take “a real big step forward.”
Miami hasn’t lost consecutive games to Eastern foes all season but they were defeated 106-102 in Chicago last month. But with Rose likely to return, take the Bulls to stampede past the Heat at 1.82.
After a brilliant surge since the All Star break, the San Antonio Spurs have lost back to back games for only the second time this season. And Memphis, who have won four straight, will make it hard for their hosts to break that streak when they arrive in Texas.
The Grizzlies, pushing for homecourt advantage in the first round of the play-offs, have turned the defensive screw on opponents of late and although they’re 0-3 against San Antonio this season so far, memories of last year’s post-season victory over the Spurs are still fresh. It’s worth a punt on going under the points total of 196.5 at 1.91. While the Grizzlies at +5.5 is a tempting option.
Bet of the Day: Bet on Memphis to avoid defeat by more than 5.5 points at 1.91.