NBA Playoffs Pick of the Week: Washington Wizards vs. Chicago Bulls — Tuesday, April 22
The Washington Wizards started the NBA Playoffs as the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference and 4.5-point underdogs in this past Sunday’s best-of-seven conference quarterfinal opener against the No. 4 Chicago Bulls. After stunning the Bulls 102-93 in that game, they are now listed by BetAnySports as 5.5-point road underdogs for Tuesday night’s Game 2 with the total set at 181.5. Tip-off for this contest is set for 9:30 p.m. and the game will be broadcast nationally from the United Center on TNT.
The Wizards finished four games behind Chicago in the standings and they built up some momentum for this matchup by winning their final four regular season games both straight-up and against the spread. The total went OVER BetAnySports’ closing 178.5-point line in Game 1 and it has now gone OVER in Washington’s last three contests.
The hot hand for the Wizards in Sunday’s nine-point victory was Nene Hilario with 24 points while going 11-for-17 from the field. Marcin Gortat added 15 points and a game-high 13 rebounds in the winning effort. Washington shot 48.6 percent from the floor and it outrebounded Chicago 45-39. All five starters in Saturday’s game scored in double figures and Andre Miller added another 10 points off the bench.
The most stunning aspect of the Bulls’ loss in Game 1 was the fact that their vaunted defense allowed 102 points after ranking first in the NBA this season in points allowed (91.8). This was just the second time in their last 10 games that the opposing team reached the century mark against this team. Chicago went 8-2 SU in its final 10 regular season games with a 6-3-1 record ATS. The total has now gone OVER in four of its last five outings.
To avoid falling into a dreaded 0-2 hole with the next two games of this series on the road, the Bulls will need to do a much better job shooting the ball, especially from outside the perimeter. They hit 42 percent of their attempts from the field and when it came to shooting the ball from 3-point range, they converted on just 5-of 20 attempts. All five of Chicago’s starters ended the night in double figures and DJ Augustin and Taj Gibson combined for 28 points off the bench. Joakim Noah scored 10 points and he led the team in both rebounds (10) and assists (4).
This matchup is a perfect opportunity to take the home team and lay the points as the Bulls bounce back in a big way on Tuesday night to even this series at one game apiece.