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Boston Celtics vs. Chicago Bulls Cappers Tuesday NBA Preview & Free Pick

Celtics vs Bulls NBA Handicapping

Is it possible that the Boston Celtics will not make the playoffs?

Miles (59 games) remain on an endless 82-game NBA season, but at this point the Celtics appear to have few answers in a season that has produced a large number of bumps in the road.

Boston Celtics (12-11) at Chicago Bulls (13-10)
Tuesday, Dec. 18
United Center, Chicago
8 p.m. EST
Spread: Bulls -1.5 at Bovada
O/U: Spurs 181.5

Matchup | Preview

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If the playoffs were to begin tonight, the Celtics would be in – but barely.

Their offense has struggled way too much for Doc Rivers’s liking, the defense seems to lose interest for long stretches in the second halves against decent teams, and the team has done nothing to address a rebounding problem that has been evident since the mid-season trade of Kendrick Perkins a few years ago.

It’s all added up to a mediocre 12-11 season so far for a team that spent the entire off-season in an effort to lengthen its rotation to compensate for the loss of Ray Allen and add rest that its core (Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce) would need during the regular season in order to be somewhat healthy and fresh for another playoff run come April and May.

But the business model has been slow in developing. Courtney Lee (5.9 ppg) has been such a huge offensive disappointment that Rivers has been forced to dip into his bench and start Jason Terry at the 2. Jeff Green, returning from a heart issue that kept him out all of last season, can’t seem to put two good games together.

They have a decent big in Jared Sullinger, but his touches are limited. [ad-6571516]

With the complementary pieces not getting it done, the nightly burden falls on Garnett, Pierce and Rondo. Garnett’s minutes are kept at about 30 a game, and when he’s not on the court the defense struggles.

There aren’t many complaints with Rondo’s game (he leads the league is assists by a wide margin), but he has trouble motivating himself against mediocre opposing PGs, and he’s only a shadow of the triple-double player who lit it up in the Eastern Conference finals against the Heat last season.

One bright note for Boston – injured (both shoulders) off guard Avery Bradley, whose made a name for himself with ferocious perimeter defense late last season, is practicing again and could return to the lineup sometime around Jan. 1.

In Chicago, the Bulls seemed to have righted their ship after a tough mid-November run as they wait and wonder when (if) PG Derrick Rose will return.

Rose’s ACL surgery was seven months ago, and the team says it has no idea when he’ll be back on the court.

THE PICK – The Celtics do not seem to play well in Chicago, and Boston is coming off back-to-back road losses (Houston, San Antonio) in which they faded at the end of both games. The Bulls have issues of their own after scoring only 71 points in a loss at Memphis last night.

Under play is worth a hard look here, even at a modest 181.5.

Trends:

• Under is 6-1 in Celtics last 7 vs. NBA Central.
• Under is 4-1 in Celtics last 5 games following a ATS loss.
• Under is 7-3 in Celtics last 10 games playing on 2 days rest.

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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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