Detroit at Chicago -2.5 O/U 204.5
The Bulls aren’t likely to have Derrick Rose or Taj Gibson available tonight for their showdown with the Pistons. That’s good news for Bulls bettors, not bad! Without Rose in the lineup, this pointspread gets deflated into a ‘SU win should equal a pointspread cover’ range. And the Bulls have certainly proven adept this season at cashing winning bets without one of their key players on the floor.
And Fred Hoiberg’s squad has looked squarely into the depths of the abyss and come out swinging. Chicago suffered a four game skid at the wrong time, falling 2.5 games out of the final playoff spot in the East, with only nine games remaining. The Bulls gut check moment came against the Pacers on Tuesday, when they held Indiana scoreless over the last 3+ minutes of gametime and won on a Jimmy Butler jumper with 3.7 seconds left. They followed that up by rallying from 14 down late in the 3rd quarter to beat Houston on Thursday.
Coach Hoiberg: “I think the biggest thing is those guys went out there and played together. That's a huge thing. We got hit with adversity in both games, got down, but found a way to stick together. What's been a struggle with this team is fighting through adversity and we did it these past couple of games." This veteran, proven playoff team knows what it takes to win games when the pressure ratchets up at this stage of the season.
The Pistons don’t have that same level of veteran experience when it comes to winning big games in April. They got smacked by Dallas at home last night, ending their long homestand with a thud. Coach Stan Van Gundy, following the loss: “Now we are going to have to go on the road and beat some good teams if we want to get in. We needed this game." Last night’s loss certainly wasn’t a confidence boost for a team that has only two road wins since February; one of them coming against the lowly Sixers.
The Pistons beat the Bulls in quadruple overtime on their last visit to the United Center; only their second win in Chicago in the last nine seasons! On the second night of back-to-backs, deflated off last night’s disappointing loss, I’m not expecting them to get another one here.