The Chicago Bulls (40-11) and Atlanta Hawks (30-21) will meet up for the fourth time during the 2011-12 campaign on Wednesday night inside Philips Arena in Atlanta.
Chicago Bulls at Atlanta Hawks
Chicago has not lost consecutive games in the regular season since Feb. 5-7, 2011, which happens to be a span of 83 games, as it looks to bounce back from a 108-91 setback to the Denver Nuggets as 7.5-point home favorites on Monday night. The Bulls will not have All-Star point guard Derrick Rose on the floor for the eighth straight game, as he continues to deal with a groin injury. It’s still important to note that the team leads the Miami Heat by 3 1/2 games in the race for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. Chicago is 18-8 ATS on the road and the “over” is 15-11 in that situation.
The Bulls currently lead the NBA in outscoring opponents by 8.4 points per game, while sitting second in scoring 15.7 second-chance points a contest. Chicago’s current streak of not losing back-to-back games is the fourth longest in league history. Tonight’s game is the fourth between these two teams during the shortened 2011-12 campaign, with the Bulls winning two of the first three. Chicago is 45-60 all-time on the road in this series, while proving victorious in 17 of the last 30 meetings overall.
Atlanta may have been caught looking ahead to this marquee matchup in having its four-game win streak snapped in last night’s 108-101 defeat to the Milwaukee Bucks as 2.5-point road underdogs. The Hawks have gone “over” the total in two straight games and will look to continue getting major production out of forward Josh Smith offensively. He scored a team-high 30 points and grabbed 18 rebounds versus the Bucks, but the team turned the ball over 22 times. “We had way, way too many turnovers,” commented Hawks head coach Larry Drew. Atlanta is 10-3 ATS when playing on back-to-back days.
The Hawks are 16-7 overall at home this season, including a 12-4 mark versus Eastern Conference foes. Atlanta will need guard Joe Johnson to bounce back from a dismal 11-point performance on Tuesday, but he is averaging just 13.0 points versus the Bulls this season. Despite losing two of the first three meetings in this series, the Hawks must be respected due to capturing seven of the last eight when playing inside tonight’s venue.
Bettors will likely back the Hawks due to their 3-1 ATS mark as a home underdog of 3.5 to 6 points, while the Bulls are 1-4 ATS as a road favorite of 4.5 points or less.
Recommendation: Atlanta Hawks +4.5
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