Larry Ness' late-Breaking Play (1st of playoffs!): Larry always takes a "2nd look" at each day's card and every so often, finds a reason to release a Late-Breaking Play. When the Texas routed Detroit 10-4 in Game 1 of an April 21 doubleheader, Larry won his only Late-Breaking Play of MLB 2012 on Detroit in Game 2. Here, it's his first Late-Breaking Play of TY's NBA playoffs. Any takers
Game: Chicago Bulls at Philadelphia 76ers May 4 2012 8:05PM
Prediction: Chicago Bulls
Grade: Loser (-110)
Reason: My 9* Late-Breaking Play is on the Chi Bulls at 8:05 ET.
Rose's absence was not Chicago's biggest problem in Game 2, as CJ Watson and backup PG Lucas combined for 27 points. It was the play of Boozer and Deng which was truly sub-par in Game 2, as the duo combined to make 7-of-22 shots and score just 17 points (Boozer is averaging just 9.0-6.0 in the first two games). Also of major concern for head coach Tom Thibodeau heading into Game 3, is the play of Chicago’ defense. The Bulls were No. 1 in points allowed (88.2), No. 2 in FG percentage (42.1%) and No. 3 in three-point percentage (32.5%) during the regular season but Philly connected on 59.0 percent of their shots while scoring 109 points in the last contest. My first thought was to take a “wait and see’ policy regarding the Bulls here in Philly but after further reflection, believe Chicago’s best chance at winning back the home court advantage in this series, is right here in Game 3. Let’s not forget that the Bulls were 24-9 on the road this year, the best record of any team. Meanwhile, while the 76ers began this season 12-2 at home through Feb 1, they ‘limped’ home just 7-12 SU the rest of the way on their home floor. In fact, the 76ers last won a home game March 31, ending the season with four consecutive defeats here at the Wells Fargo Center. Chicago owns a ‘shutdown defense’ and it CAN can make up for Rose's absence but Chicago will need Deng and particularly Boozer, to finding their respective offensive ‘grooves.’ "Defense and rebounding, that's the whole key," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said about Game 2. "The big thing was they got into the open floor. They got easy baskets. You get easy baskets early in the game, you're going to get confidence. When a team gets confidence, they're much harder to shut down." Chicago was the NBA’s the top rebounding team during the regular season but was beaten on the boards in Game 2, 38-32. That as well, has to change. Philadelphia played 10 of its final 14 regular season games on the road, including its final five. The 76ers then opened the playoffs in Chicago, meaning the team last played at home back on April 17 (last win, as mentioned, was way back on March 31). This hardly seems like a home court advantage and I’m taking the Bulls in a game in which they only need to win, to earn the cover.