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Chicago Bulls vs. Brooklyn Nets Game 2 NBA Preview & Free Pick

Bulls vs Nets NBA Handicapping

So much for the playoffs providing the Bulls with a fresh start. The 17-point beatdown that the Brooklyn Nets applied to Chicago on Saturday night in Game 1 of their playoff series was just a continuation of the struggles that the Bulls experienced over the final few weeks of the regular season.

Eastern Conference
Playoff quarterfinals
Chicago Bulls (0-1) at Brooklyn Nets (1-0)
Monday, April 22
Barclays Center, Brooklyn
8 p.m. EST
Spread – Nets -4.5 at Bovada
O/U – 183.5

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They have now lost 5 of their last 8 games overall).

The Bulls were hoping that the return of Joakim Noah (plantar fasciitis) would give them a huge lift against the Nets, but Brooklyn shrugged off Noah’s presence in the lineup and did whatever it wanted, whenever it wanted.

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As tonight’s Game 2 in Brooklyn draws near, the Bulls now must figure out a way to get their act together against a Nets team that has won 7 of its last 8 overall and appears to have gotten hot at just the right time.

What do the Bulls have to fix for Game 2? Just about everything.

Chicago’s Game 1 shooting was gawdawful. The Bulls fell behind 60-35 at the half, with only a garbage-time fourth period making it anywhere near close. Chicago shot 25 percent on threes and 68 percent from the foul line. Starters Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich were a combined 3 for 14 from the field.

The Nets were able to take advantage of Noah’s limited minutes (13), shooting a whopping 60 percent from the field and outrebounding the Bulls. If Brooklyn makes 3 of every 5 shots tonight, the Bulls will be headed back to the Midwest needing 4 wins in the next 5 games to make it to the next round. [ad-6571516]

Noah figures to play more minutes tonight, though maybe not quite as many as the 37 he averaged in 66 regular season games. Still, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau is known for pushing his starters, so Noah could play a ton if the foot is OK and the game is close.

Brooklyn, meanwhile, will be trying to maintain momentum. Both teams know that there are several times zones between 2-0 and 1-1, and that a Brooklyn win tonight would greatly increase the Nets’ margin for error when the series shifts to Chicago for Game 3 and 4 on Thursday and Saturday.

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Things got away from the Bulls in the first and second periods of Game 1, but we’re looking at a much tighter Game 2 tonight. Eleven teams in the playoffs shot better than the Nets in the regular season, and it will be next to impossible to shoot near 60 percent again against a team coached by Thibodeau.

Oddsmakers have bumped up the total a few points (183.5, from 181.5), which could be enough to take a hard look at a play on the under after teams spent all day Sunday working on defensive adjustments.

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About Lawrence Paul

Lawrence Paul is back in the saddle as a regular contributor to the Cappers Picks Blog. He's got an AMAZING knack for predicting when a team will have a letdown! Stick with our resident gambling experts sports betting tips all season long!


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