Boston will be looking to even up the series at one game apiece when they play in New York on Tuesday.

The first game between these two teams on Saturday ended up in a sloppy 85-78 game in favor of the Knicks. They really clamped down on defense in the fourth quarter and held the Celtics to just eight points in those final 12 minutes. The Knicks are now a sizzling-hot 17-2 SU (15-4 ATS) in their past 19 games, including 11 straight home wins (9-2 ATS) to improve their record at Madison Square Garden to 32-10 SU (25-17 ATS) this season. Boston is just 5-12 SU (7-10 ATS) in its past 17 games overall, and 14-28 SU (16-24-2 ATS) on the road this season.

The Celtics were up by as much as seven points in the third quarter of Game 1, but could not get anything going in the fourth quarter. PF Jeff Green was dominant in the first half of the game, but nowhere to be found in the second. He finished the game with 26 points, seven rebounds and three blocks, but he had just six of those points in the second half. He will need to be aggressive for the entire game if Boston is going to upset New York. SF Paul Pierce also struggled in the second half, but played very well overall for the Celtics with 21 points, seven assists and five rebounds in 39 minutes. But both Green and Pierce turned the ball over six times apiece, contributing heavily to the team's 20 miscues. Boston will need more scoring out of PF Kevin Garnett, who played well defensively (nine rebounds), but finished with just eight points on 4-of-12 shooting. PG Avery Bradley was on top of his game though, going 7-of-14 from the field with 15 points, four assists and three steals. The Celtics are going to need a lot more production from their bench as it combined for just four points, missing all seven FG attempts on Saturday. SG Jason Terry was 0-for-5 from the field and 0-for-4 from three-point range in 20 horrible minutes.

The Knicks didnt play their best in Game 1, but they certainly will take the final result, which was a win over a tough division rival. SF Carmelo Anthony was hot in the first quarter, struggled in the second and third, and then heated up again in the fourth quarter for New York. He was hitting timely buckets when the Knicks need him and finished the game with 36 points (13-of-29 FG), six rebounds and four steals. He was focused defensively and played with tremendous effort. SG J.R. Smith went ice-cold from three-point range, going 1-for-7 on his way to a 7-of-19 shooting performance, but it is unlikely that Smith is that off again. New York was able to get only 20 minutes of playing time out of C Tyson Chandler, who took zero shots in the game after coming back from a bulging disc in his neck. Chandler said after the game that he was rusty, so look for him to improve in Game 2. The two difference makers on Saturday were veterans PG Jason Kidd and PF Kenyon Martin. Kidd finished the game with eight points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals. He also hit back-to-back threes in the third quarter to stop a very threatening Boston run. Martin was also magnificent off the bench, finishing with 10 points, nine rebounds (five offensive) and two blocks, including a huge swat on Jason Terry that had Madison Square Garden roaring.

Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah out for two months

The improving Chicago Bulls squad nfl football betting Online Bingo Play Slots Online in US NFL Odds absorbed a major blow to their campaign after starting center and team’s rebounding leader Joakim Noah underwent thumb surgery that will sideline him for eight to ten weeks this season.

Noah, who is averaging 14 points and 11.7 rebounds per game this season, injured his thumb in their game against the Sacramento Kings on 27 November, but he was able to play through it, which could have aggravated the injury. The 25-year-old center also tore ligaments in his right ring finger and right index finger, but the Bulls training staff said that no surgery is needed to repair the tore ligaments.

Without Noah, Bulls general manager Gar Forman said that the team will have to make a huge adjustment and signing a big man as a short-term solution is possible, although he prefers to stick with the talents that they have in their fold.

“Obviously it affects us,” said Forman on losing Noah. “Not only from a statistical standpoint with his points and rebounds, but the energy that he brings. He'll still be around the team. But in the short term it's a blow.”

The Bulls, who are starting to play well since Carlos Boozer returned from a hand injury, will have to rely on their reserve big men to fill in Noah’s role, although Forman knows that the energy Noah brings inside the court would be sorely missed by the team.

However, Forman is confident that their reserve big men like Taj Gibson, Turkish rookie center Omer Asik, and veteran big man Kurt Thomas would give them a boost and continue to perform well this season.

“We'll go with what we have. We do think we have some depth,” Forman said. “Taj has stepped in, obviously in the past and done a very good job. I think it's an opportunity for guys. It's an opportunity for Omer to play some. Kurt Thomas, even a year ago when he was with Milwaukee found himself in this type of situation.”

Gibson, who started for the Bulls early in the season when Boozer was still recovering from a hand surgery, would take Noah’s spot in the starting lineup, but his entry could mean that Boozer should start at the center spot, which would definitely give them a size disadvantage.

“His presence,” said Boozer when asked what they would miss with Noah out of the lineup. “His presence defensively. I think he clogs up the middle so good for us. He blocks shots. He rebounds. Does a great job of putting pressure on the defense.”

Bulls superstar point guard Derrick Rose also expressed his frustration saying that Noah is the “heart and soul” of the team because of the intangibles he brings day in and day out. He also admitted that none of their remaining big men could fill in the role of Noah.

“Energy,” said Rose when asked about the difference of having and not having Noah inside the court. “Of course, you know, rebounding, just almost everything. He puts a lot into the game. Little things like passing, him talking, things like that.”

Despite losing Noah, Rose is still confident that they would continue to play well as long as they would stay focused. He also added that Gibson and Asik should have great confidence in themselves and the former rookie of the year believes that both of them would be up to the challenge.

“The guys that are coming in like Taj and Omer and all them that's coming in, they got to be ready to ball,” Rose said. “We got to get their confidence up high. They've at least got to put forth the effort that he put up every game. That's going to be a lot on them, but I think they can bear it.”

The Bulls will definitely be a different team with Noah out of the lineup, but with the talent that they have and by having two superstars in their fold, Rose and Boozer, the Bulls remain a formidable team and would still be a threat to teams like the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat.

With Noah out the Chicago Bulls are xxx to win the Eastern Conference championship according to the Basketball Odds at Are you betting on the Bulls? Head over to and get into the NBA betting action today.

NBA: Home Rules the West

Phoenix took advantage of its home court Sunday night and has a chance to even its NBA Western Conference Finals series against the Lakers on Tuesday night. So far, the hosts have won all three games of the set. apparently expects that trend to be broken for Game 4 however, as Los Angeles is listed as a 1-point road favorite at last check, after opening up as a 1.5-point dog. Is this movement public sentiment weighing in, or are the Lakers just too good to lose two straight?

People tend to hear and then add their own personal twist to what they just listened to, which ultimately tends to change or exaggerate the original topic. The Phoenix Suns had gone from a terrible defense team to one that was competent after the All-Star break this season. The more games Phoenix won and their players and coaches talked about improved defense being the difference, the more the media and public bought into it.

After holding Portland and San Antonio to 95.9 points per game in their first two series triumphs, the mantra was viewed as the new and improved Phoenix Suns.

The Los Angeles Lakers being more talented, with better offensive weapons, quickly put Alan Gentry’s team more into proper perspective, averaging 126 points in the first two games against the Suns.

Gentry is an affable coach, quick to give praise to his team and at least publicly, measures his disappointment when he sees a lack of effort or execution. For Game 3, Gentry knew a couple of areas that needed immediate improvement.

He started with realizing his club was no match to play the Lakers straight-up defensively and that doubling different L.A. players was failing as badly as British Petroleum’s attempt to solve the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Gentry knew his team was still below average defensively, but was capable of making SOME stops, which might just be enough to knock off the Lakers if the offense continued to be productive.

The head coach and assistant coaches went to a zone defense, which took Kobe Bryant and his teammates out of the triangle offense. Gentry and his staff hoped Los Angeles might become content to fire away from long range and kept his fingers crossed they wouldn’t bury too many. Though the Lakers made nine three-point baskets, it took them 32 attempts to reach that level, lowering their record to 7-3 ATS as road underdogs.

Offensively, Phoenix got aggressive taking the ball to the basket. The Suns went at their “giant” foes with abandon and ended up shooting 42 free throws (37 made) to their counterpart’s smallish total of 20. The 118-109 victory brought Phoenix back into the series and gave them hope for the next contest where they are 37-10 and 29-16-2 ATS.

Two main players on the floor changed the direction of the series. Amare Stoudemire was virtually unstoppable with 42 points and 11 rebounds and Lamar Odom returned to the planet earth, with 10 points on 4-14 shooting and had as many fouls as rebounds (6).

Though it probably won’t show in Game 4, Los Angeles has had ample rest, however another loss in the desert could make the series a far greater challenge, forced to play every other day, where they are 4-12 ATS with one day off.

The money at is mostly riding on the Lakers, now a one-point favorite after being a 1.5-point underdog to open, with the total higher yet again at 222 after three straight Over’s.

Kobe and company are 18-7 ATS in road games after scoring 105 points or more in three consecutive contests and 23-12 OVER having won two of their last three games this season. Phoenix will try and square up the series and is 22-8 ATS after a tilt where both teams scored 105 points or more. The team with shaggy-haired point guard and fractured nose is 41-22 OVER when both teams score 98 or more points in a game this season.

TNT will against provide this West Finals conflict starting at 9:00 Eastern with coaching adjustments very important. The home team is on 8-1 ATS run between these Pacific Division competitors.

The StatFox Power Line shows Phoenix by 6, indicating that oddsmakers had the opening line closer to the truth.