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(UK time) 08:50:26

Basketball

18 April 2012

NBA Preview: Bulls to feel Miami Heat in Rose absence

Chicago set to finally feel the effects of 2011 MVP's omission from the side

NBA Preview: Bulls to feel Miami Heat in Rose absence

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Miami Heat, unbeaten in their last three home outings against Chicago Bulls, must be at their best to complete a fourth consecutive victory over them at 5/12 on 20 April.

The Bulls have enjoyed a superb NBA season, boasting a winning record superior to any other team in their division, and that may encourage punters to back them to end their Miami hoodoo by winning at 2/1 tonight.

What has been most impressive about Bulls’ seasonal form has been that it has come in the absence of last year’s MVP Derrick Rose, and regular all-star Rip Hamilton, who have missed the majority of the campaign so far with injury troubles.

Whilst they have managed to cope admirably without these two star talents, a trip to Miami in these circumstances is a daunting prospect, particularly with LeBron James in such blistering form.

James has however left it late to demonstrate his best shooting recently, and so the Bulls could be worth taking on at 3/2 to be the first side to reach 20 points.

Heat’s James has menaced tired defensive opposition in the fourth and final quarter regularly though, making the 12/5 odds about the fourth quarter being the highest scoring of the game look highly appealing.

Elsewhere in the NBA, in a game of less significance regarding playoff implications, Minnesota Timberwolves will aim to end an 11-game losing streak, priced 2/1 to get the better of Detroit Pistons.

The Pistons are 5/12 to extend the Timberwolves’ miserable run meanwhile, and, determined to put right an emphatic defeat in their last outing, they should be able to do so with home advantage over a side that hasn’t won an April fixture for three years.

Further afield, Phoenix Suns travel to the much-improved Los Angeles Clippers, as 10/13 shots for success on the road.

The Clippers have won 12 of their past 14 matches however, and with Chris Paul discovering some of his best career form, they appear a better value option at 11/10 for victory.

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