Friday NBA odds: Chicago Bulls at Boston Celtics

It’s a potential first-round playoff matchup Friday night in Boston when the streaking Bulls visit Boston, which had been playing its best basketball of the season before a loss Wednesday. Boston is the opening favorite on Check our current lines.

The Bulls continue to surprise without Derrick Rose. Chicago won its second straight on Wednesday, beating Toronto 107-105 on Luol Deng’s game-winning jumper in overtime. Deng got the ball and pulled up on the right elbow about 18 feet away from the basket and drained the jumper with 3.3 seconds left. It was exactly the type of ending the Bulls needed after almost blowing a 19-point lead in the second half.

Carlos Boozer dominated this game in the first half, scoring 25 of his season-high 36 points, grabbing 12 rebounds and collecting three assists. Deng finished with 19 points to go along with seven assists and four rebounds, while Joakim Noah had 16 points and 14 rebounds. The Bulls outscored the Raptors 54-36 in the paint.

The Celtics were surprise 90-78 at home on Wednesday night by Charlotte. Paul Pierce scored 12 points with 10 rebounds before fouling out in the final minutes as the Celtics’ six-game winning streak came to an end. Kevin Garnett scored 15 and Rajon Rondo had 11 assists. Pierce shot 5 of 16 from the floor and made 1 of 7 3-point attempts as Boston went 4 of 18 from beyond the arc. The Hornets were worse, going 2 of 17 from 3-point range.

“We didn’t play well — just let our guard down, I thought, a little bit,” said coach Doc Rivers. “I felt it [Tuesday] and didn’t do anything about it so I’m kicking myself more than them. I always write stuff down, after practices and my first note – ‘guard down, guard down’ – I think I wrote it three different times and I thought we came out and played like that.”

The Bulls and Celtics split their two meetings at the UC this season. In the most recent contest, Noah recorded a double-double with 11 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists as Chicago won 100-89. The first meeting saw the Celtics win 101-95 to snap a five-game losing streak at the United Center; Boston shot .506 from the field in the win. In that first meeting, Deng led the Bulls with 26 points and 11 boards, while Noah added a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Rajon Rondo is averaging 23.0 points in two games vs. Chicago this year.

Last year, Chicago outscored Boston by an average of 90.3 ppg to 85.0 ppg. The Bulls are 58-45 versus the Celtics in Chicago and 33-62 in Boston (1-6 in neutral-site games). In their four games last season, the Bulls outrebounded Boston 46.3 rpg to 37.8 rpg. trends: Over is 9-2 in the last 11 meetings in Boston. Over is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings. Favorite is 6-2-1 ATS in the last 9 meetings. Home team is 6-2-1 ATS in the last 9 meetings. Bulls are 8-3-1 ATS in the last 12 meetings.


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