CHICAGO BULLS (48-40) at BROOKLYN NETS (52-36)
Sportsbook.ag Line & Total: Brooklyn -6.5 & 182.5
After stealing a Game 6 win at United Center, the Nets will try to complete a their comeback from a 3-1 series deficit on Saturday night when they host the Bulls for a decisive Game 7.
Brooklyn is 4-2 ATS so far in this series, but was a poor home wager in the regular season at 16-23-2 ATS (41%). Chicago was a much better wager on the road at 23-17-1 ATS (58%) during the regular season, compared to a dismal 13-28 ATS (32%) at home. In Thursday’s Game 6, Bulls SF Luol Deng was too ill to play after suffering from flu-like symptoms, and watched his team shoot a dismal 40% from the floor. The Nets didn’t shoot much better (43% FG), but PG Deron Williams set the tone for Brooklyn, playing 42 minutes and finishing the game with an efficient 17 points (5-of-12 FG) and 11 assists. Game 7 is going to be a hard-fought battle between these two teams, and Deng’s presence (listed as questionable) could give Chicago an extra lift emotionally. The Bulls are 21-17-1 ATS (55%) after an SU loss this season, while the Nets are 26-23-2 ATS (53%) after an SU win.
The Bulls put forth a stellar effort in Game 6, but came up empty-handed in the end. Without SF Luol Deng (13.8 PPG, 7.6 RPG in series), SG Marco Belinelli started in his place and had an excellent performance for Chicago. Belinelli finished with a game-high 22 points (8-of-21 FG, 3-of-9 threes), seven assists and five rebounds in 46 minutes. PG Nate Robinson also played another great game for the Bulls, scoring 18 points (7-of-15 FG) in 42 minutes while also dishing out four assists. The 5-foot-9 Robinson now has 24.0 PPG on 53% FG with 5.3 APG in his past three contests. C Joakim Noah, who has looked a lot better since returning from a foot injury, was struggling shooting the ball around the rim (7-of-16 FG), but he did contribute plenty, with 14 points, 15 rebounds, five assists and five blocks. The Bulls are going to need a better offensive performance out of PF Carlos Boozer in Game 7. Boozer has been the most consistent offensive player for the Bulls in these playoffs (17.5 PPG on 56% FG, 11.2 RPG), but in Game 6, he had just 14 points (7-of-15 FG) to go along with his strong 13 boards. He will need to be more aggressive and maybe the presence of Deng will relieve some pressure from him. SF Jimmy Butler had a well-rounded 17 points, seven rebounds and six assists, but made just 4-of-13 shots. For the series, Butler has been solid with 12.2 PPG on 47% FG (43% threes) and 4.2 RPG.
The Nets have had an up-and-down series. They dominated Game 1, only to look lifeless in Games 2 through 4. But the Nets have now won two straight games with strong defense (91.5 PPG on 44.5% FG allowed), and have committed just 10.0 TOPG during this pair of victories.
Deron Williams hasn’t shot well this series (41.6% FG), but has still managed to post three straight double-doubles, averaging 24.0 PPG and 10.3 APG during this stretch. He’s done a great job running the offense in the past two victories with 21 assists and just seven turnovers in a combined 80 minutes of action. Williams’ great performance on Thursday helped compensate for C Brook Lopez who had somewhat of an off-night with 17 points (7-of-18 FG) and just three rebounds in 37 minutes. Lopez had scored more than 20 points in each of the previous five games in the series and had pulled down 30 rebounds over his previous three contests. SG Joe Johnson had a strong game for Brooklyn on Thursday, scoring 17 points (7-of-13 FG) while also dishing out four assists. For the series, Johnson has 16.3 PPG on 46% FG, but just 30% threes. SF Gerald Wallace has found his game after complaining about his lack of a role with the team. He scored just 7.0 PPG in Games 1-3, but is averaging 14.7 PPG on 52% FG (6-of-12 threes) over the past three contests. Wallace’s contributions are making it very difficult to defend Brooklyn in the half court. PF Reggie Evans continues to be a beast on the glass with his fourth straight game of at least a dozen boards on Thursday. For the series, Evans has a paltry 5.0 PPG, but a hefty 12.2 RPG.