If there weren’t so many more promising moments ahead, Derrick Rose may just want to have this one for life. The 23-year old has combined for 75 points through the first two NBA games of the Chicago Bulls’ best-of-seven opening round series against the Indiana Pacers, and following an MVP-caliber season has restored optimism in the Windy City. As the series shifts to Conseco Fieldhouse in Indiana, all eyes will be on Rose and whether or not the Bulls can sweep.
Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
The Pacers will look to regroup in front of the hometown crowd after pushing a Chicago team that won 62 regular season games to the limit on the road through the first two games. The problem is that there may be more Bulls’ fans on hand than those that actually support the home team for Indiana’s first home playoff game in five years. The franchise had a ton of tickets still available after game two, and that could lead to hundreds of fans making the trip.
NBA Betting Preview: Bulls
Rose and head coach Tom Thibodeau haven’t shifted their focus away from finding ways to improve despite clinching the first two games in the series. Although they can put a stranglehold on the series with a win at Indiana in game three, the team understands that there are still several areas for improvement. The All Star guard admitted to reporters that his team’s defense hasn’t been as strong as it was during the regular season, when it was a big reason for the Bulls’ fast break transition offense that was so potent. It could be a good thing that the team is headed on the road where it won’t face the pressure of not wanting to letdown its sellout crowd of supporters. Chicago has a young team that will continue to grow with the experience of every sports betting bonus game.
NBA Betting Preview: Pacers
Indiana has kept these games close down to the final minutes, but now the challenge becomes finding out what it takes to finally get over that hump and into the win column. The Pacers managed to keep up with Chicago even after point guard Darren Collison left with a sprained ankle, and will need to continue to rally without him as it now looks as though he could miss the rest of the series. Slowing down Rose will be the key to getting the job done, a task that’s much easier said than done. Indiana’s big men will also have to do a better job under the basket in terms of shooting after center Roy Hibbert and forward Tyler Hansbrough combined to shoot 5-for-19 in game two.
NBA Betting Preview: Outlook & Pick
The Pacers have thrown everything they have at Chicago and although they’ve been able to keep games close, it simply hasn’t been enough. That won’t change in game three, as the Bulls actually attack them with a more focused and relaxed demeanor to push Indiana to the brink of elimination. The two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks are barely hanging on in the NHL, and their two MLB betting teams haven’t looked like anything special, leaving the Bulls as Chicago’s team in 2018.