Friday NBA odds: Chicago Bulls at Miami Heat
ESPN has an NBA doubleheader on Friday night and the opener is the first matchup of the season between the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat – certainly the game loses a little bit of luster because Derrick Rose remains out for Chicago. Bet on it at WagerWeb.com.
Chicago enters off a 96-94 win over Orlando on Wednesday. Carlos Boozer had a season-high 31 points and 11 rebounds and Luol Deng scored 23 points to lead the way. Taj Gibson added 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulls, who played without center Joakim Noah, who was ill. Chicago was outrebounded 37-34 in Noah’s absence but exploited an injury-plagued Magic front court, outscoring them 42-32 in the paint. Noah is expected to play Friday, thus sending Gibson back to the bench.
Gibson has struggled to find his rhythm all season, but with Noah out of the lineup with flu-like symptoms, the fourth-year forward stepped up in a major way and played like the Gibson of old. He played with the type of energy that has been a staple of his game since he entered the league. Aside from Gibson’s performance, Boozer really stood out against the Magic. Without Noah on the floor, the Bulls made it a point to find Boozer and get him going. It was a strategy that paid off as the veteran forward led the Bulls in the first three quarters and then allowed the defense to make plays in the final moments to finish things off.
The Heat also played Wednesday, beating Dallas 119-109 in overtime to improve to 15-2 at home. LeBron James scored 32 points and finished one assist shy of a triple-double, Dwyane Wade scored 27 for Miami. Down 100-94 with 3:02 remaining in regulation, the Heat closed the game on a 25-9 run — and sent Dallas to its sixth loss in as many overtime games this season. James had 12 rebounds and nine assists for the Heat, who scored the first seven points of overtime.
James extended his streaks of scoring at least 20 points to 30 consecutive games this season, 35 regular-season games going back to last season and 51 straight games overall when including last season’s playoff run. LeBron is the first NBA player in more than 40 years to score 20 or more points in each of his team’s first 30 games of a season. The last player to do that before LeBron was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who was then known as Lew Alcindor, when he registered at least 20 points for Milwaukee in each of its first 46 games in 1970-1971.
Of course the Heat and Bulls met in the East Finals two seasons ago and were expected to again last season before Rose tore knee ligaments in Chicago’s playoff opener. The teams split four regular-season meetings last year.
WagerWeb.com trends: Under is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings. Home team is 5-2 ATS in the last 7 meetings. Bulls are 2-5 ATS in the last 7 meetings in Miami.