The Chicago Bulls' hopes of a first NBA Championship since the era of Michael Jordan surely collapsed when Derrick Rose tumbled to the court in agony during Saturday’s Game 1 of their play-off series with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Out until next season – and the Olympic Games – the loss of the league’s reigning Most Valuable Player dealt a devastating blow to the Bulls. But even without their leading light, they still have enough firepower to advance past the Sixers and into the Conference semi-finals, at least.
Game 2 is on Tuesday evening and Chicago are still -6.5 on the handicap at 1.91 to win. That’s a fair reflection but for a punt, go over on the total points of 175.
Another absentee tonight is Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo after his inexcusable bump on an official two days ago. The suspension of the league’s assist leader makes the Celtics task of rebounding from their Game 1 loss to the Atlanta Hawks all the harder.
Boston rallied back from 19 down in that first round opener but with Rondo ejected, Atlanta rallied back to win 83-74. And with Ray Allen still struggling to return from injury, take the Hawks to swoop at 1.91 on the -4 handicap and go under the line of 172.5.
Tuesday’s other tie sees the LA Lakers attempt to protect their 1-0 series lead over the Denver Nuggets. Andrew Bynum had a franchise record in blocks for the Lakers on Sunday to slam the door in the lane and Denver struggling offensively in the paint as they slumped to a 103-88 loss.
It’s hard not to envisage a repeat. Even with Denver at +5 on the handicap, go with the Lakers at 1.91 and take under the total points tally of 201.0.
Bet of the Day: Take Chicago over Philadelphia on the handicap at 1.91.