By: Emily Musella
Celtics take on the Bulls for Friday night NBA action!
The Boston Celtics travel to Chicago tonight to take on the Bulls in an Eastern Conference showdown. The Celtics blowout of the Orlando Magic was exactly what the Boston team needed to get back on track and in the 6th spot of the Eastern Conference standings. On the flip side, the Bulls gain back Zach LaVine and will look to add another W over the Boston squad. Will the Celtics take the Bulls by the horn, or will the Chicago team repeat a victory on their homecourt? You know what time it is, the breakdown shakedown!
Odds: BOS -2.5. CHI +2.5
Tip-off: May 7th, 7:30 p.m. EST, United Center
The Celtics continue to be without star player Jaylen Brown as he is designated as OUT tonight against the Bulls. The upside though is they gain back Tristan Thompson as he is listed as PROBABLE for tonight. Robert Williams III (Time Lord) remains QUESTIONABLE but I anticipate he will be on the court. The last time the C’s faced the Bulls, the Chicago team snagged the W with a 102-96 victory. The biggest change this time around, Zach LaVine will be on the court for his Bulls team.
On the offense, Kemba Walker is BACK and with a vengeance as he posted 32 points against the Magic on Wednesday night. Evan Fournier continues to impress, Jayson Tatum remains unstoppable, and Payton Pritchard is on pace to set a Celtics rookie record from the 3-point range this season. In their last head-to-head with the Bulls, Marcus Smart, Kemba Walker, and Evan Fournier were all OUT. Tonight, they are all ready to go as a nearly full-strength Boston team. In terms of how the team stacks up, the Celtics are 16th in total score, 15th in FG%, 9th in 3-point%, and 13th in total rebounds.
As for the defense, The Celtics struggled to contain Nikola Vucevic as he dropped 29 points on the C’s last time they met. Now, the Boston squad will face another daunting court shooter in Zach LaVine. Lavine averages 27.2 points per game. To add a third player to the mix, Coby White continues to showcase his versatility on the court. Chicago ranks better in terms of driving to the bucket and points in the paint, so for the Celtics side, containing that damage will be pivotal. The Celtics defense stacks up as follows, 10th in total score, 11th in FG%, 19th in 3-point%, and 5th in rebounds.
The Bulls nabbed a W last night over the Charlotte Hornets with a final score of 120-99. Vucevic, LaVine, and White were the big players to secure that victory. Another player that continues to showcase his court dominance is former Celtics player Daniel Theis. With a full-strength Bulls team hosting the Celtics tonight, I think it is safe to say that basketball fans are in for a really good matchup.
On the offense, Zach LaVine is BACK and ready to roll with his teammates. In their last head-to-head, Vucevic was the top scorer, followed by Coby White, and Thaddeus Young. I anticipate LaVine and White draining threes tonight as LaVine on the season is nearly 42% from that range, and White is nearly 35% from 3. As for driving to the bucket, Vucevic has that skill in the bag, alongside getting to the free-throw line to make opposing teams pay. In terms of how the Bulls offense stacks up, they are 20th in total score, 8th in FG%, 15th in 3-point%, and 12th in total rebounds.
As for the defense, the Bulls have their hands full with a near full-strength Celtics squad visiting their homecourt tonight. Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart, and Payton Pritchard are just some of the big names that the Bulls will attempt to shutdown tonight. The Chicago defense does catch a slight break with Jaylen Brown OUT tonight though. Brown was the top scorer for the Celtics in their last meeting against the Bulls. The Bulls defense will need to crank it up a notch in terms of defending points inside the paint. The fourth quarter seems to be a struggle for the team as they are 28th in the league. Overall, the Bulls are 17th in total score, 26th in FG%, 6th in 3-point%, and 4th in total rebounds.
ANALYSIS AND BEST BETS
Basketball fans, we are in for a seriously good game tonight as both teams are notorious for giving their fan bases an exciting four quarters of play. With big players back on the Celtics and the Bulls tonight, I anticipate a close matchup.
My first best bet is for the OVER 222.5 to hit tonight. Considering all of the elite players that are going to be on the court, I think the OVER hitting is a solid choice. In the last 6 games, the OVER has hit for the Celtics side.
My second best bet is for Marcus Smart to post OVER 6.5 assists tonight. In his last three games, Smart posted 9, 8, and 12 assists. Smart is notorious for assisting in big plays to either Tristan Thompson, Robert Williams III, or Jayson Tatum. I anticipate a big assist night for him.