|Written by Michael|
Bet on the NBAIt increasingly seems likely that the Chicago Bulls will end up with the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
It is also likely that the Orlando Magic will end the season as the fourth seed in the East. While the two teams may meet in the second round of the playoffs, they first meet this Sunday for a potential preview of that series.
The Bulls fly out of an unseasonably warm day in Chicago to the equally sunny and warm Florida for a 1:00 PM ET matchup at the Amway Arena in Orlando. The sportsbook lists the Bulls as the 6 point favorites, with the total at 182.5. While the Bulls are seemingly unstoppable right now, are they good enough to cover that large a spread against the Magic?
Even on the road, the oddsmakers favor the Bulls. One of the main reasons for this is the recent amazing performances from point guard Derrick Rose, the league's probable MVP. He has carried the young Chicago team to a six game win streak and they are just one win away from a 60 win season. The last time the Bulls won 60 games or more was in the late 1990s when Michael Jordan still played.
But Rose is not the only weapon the Bulls have. In fact, in the Chicago win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, the star guard was mostly ineffectual, scoring only 11 points. The team was led by Carlos Boozer's double-double of 24 points and 11 rebounds. Luol Deng also put in 10 points, grabbed 9 rebounds, and made 6 assists in that win.
With only a few games left in the season, it is important for the Bulls to win every game down the stretch in order to have a chance to catch the San Antonio Spurs for the best record in the NBA. If they can do that, the Bulls will have home-court advantage throughout the playoffs, including the NBA Finals if they make it that far.
But first, they need to overcome the Magic, who will be playing without either Dwight Howard or Quentin Richardson. Howard will be serving a one-game suspension for receiving his 18th technical foul this season. Richardson is out for two games for shoving Charlotte Bobcats guard Gerald Henderson in the face.