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Chicago is the team to beat in the East

chicago_bulls_logo_300Chicago has replaced Boston as the team to beat in the Eastern Conference (yes, we see you, Miami…you’re not there yet), and both teams have been dealing with injuries to their frontcourt this season. The two meet for the final time in the regular season on Thursday night in one of the biggest NBA picks provided by BetUs of the week, and the Celtics will try to snatch a win at the United Center, arguably the toughest place to play in the league.

The Bulls and Celtics have had a rivalry since the Michael Jordan-Larry Bird days, and it was renewed in their epic playoff series in 2009, a seven-game affair won by the Celtics that featured seven overtime periods over four games. Two years later, the Bulls have taken over behind the play of Derrick Rose, who has carried the Bulls despite injuries to Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah, who both should be in the lineup for this game, but we wouldn’t hold our breath. The Celtics lost Shaquille O’Neal again, while Jermaine O’Neal could be on the disabled list by the time this article is posted, given his history.

The Celtics won the first two games against the Bulls in Boston before falling in Chicago in the third meeting, and the Bulls will instantly aim to challenge the paint until Boston proves they can stop them. The Celtics also have to figure out how to win in Chicago, which is something that only five teams had done this season ahead of Tuesday’s game against Phoenix. The Bulls are incredible at home, and they’re also on the cusp of clinching the top spot in the East, which would be a tremendous advantage in the postseason. The Celtics are trying to prove that the road through the conference still goes through them, so Thursday’s televised showdown will be one to watch.