Bulls vs Raptors 7pm on CSN

The Bulls have struggled to knock off a rather unimpressive cast of teams recently, yet they've still managed to win 13 of their past 15 games.   The Toronto Raptors, another struggling club, visit the United Center tonight.  

The Raptors may get a boost from Andrea Barngani and Jerryd Bayless returning to the team though they may be without PG Jose Calderon.  A team that was bound to struggle already has been hit by significant injuries, exacerbating their problems.

Even if Bargnani plays, he'll likely be limited in minutes and impact without having significant practice/game time recently.   It's another game that the Bulls should win.
Keys to the game

Know your personnel

The Raptors don't look like they have a lot of three point shooting, but Calderon, Kleiza, Barngani, and Barbosa can all get hot.   The group, as a whole, are shooting well below their career averages, but they can hurt you if given room to shoot, so don't become the slump buster for them.

Players like Bayless and DeRozen aren't likely to launch shots from downtown, and they're going to look to drive, so play them for the drive and dare them to shoot.

Dominate the glass

The Bulls should have a considerable advantage on the interior, particularly if Amir Johnson sits out the game.   The Bulls can really raise their margin of error in the game tremendously by having Boozer/Thomas box out well and collecting rebounds. 

Gibson can get it going

This strikes me as a good game for Gibson to get out of his slump.  The Raptors aren't great defensively, the Bulls should be able to crash the glass offensively which should allow him some offensive rebound opportunities, and if Bargnani plays, Gibson's a great guy to chase him around the perimeter.

Derrick Rose shouldn't settle for jumpers

There are games where Rose has used his three pointer to great affect.   However, the Raptors don't have much in the way of interior defense, so Rose, along with Deng and Boozer, should focus his efforts on getting into the paint. 

Final thoughts

I've said it lots recently, it looks like an easy win on paper, but the Bulls aren't going to win all the easy games (despite the fact that so far they have outside of a 1 point loss to the Clippers). 

It wouldn't surprise me to see them drop one of these games, especially given how closely they're playing many of them.  

For their part, the team doesn't seem real happy with it's level of play, but I still think they'll pull the game out.

Comments

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  • *cough*benchbogans*cough

  • In reply to adamlweber:

    from your mouth to thibs' ears.

  • In reply to adamlweber:

    http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=2ajvsu7

  • I know these guys gotta know that everyone is saying YES the Bulls have won 13 out of 15 but they haven't played anyone that are elite in a lot of those wins,so IMO they need to start winning some of these games rather decisively and at least prove to themselves that they can dominate some of the lesser teams in the league. Or is this who the Bulls are and they can't dominate the weaker teams. Hopefully they wont have a slip up and lose against the raptors.

  • We need to take it easy on Gibson...He seems to be a little lost after his concussion. I think this might be a game where Deng becomes a #2 scoring option(not much physical defense from the Raptors).

    It doesn't matter how we win as long as we collect wins now when we are not at our full strength inside with Noah. For guys who whine about all that...we need to keep in perspective that we are missing our best defensive player.
    But that said, we need to beat up on Raptors like they did in the deciding game of the regular season last year.

  • Bulls like to keep the game competitive for the fans, nobody likes to see a blowout! LOL
    The Bulls are actually mean by making the other team think they can win and then pressing the nitrous button and blowing by the other team! :-)

  • THIS JUST IN:

    John Lucas III has just been waive.

    http://realgm.net/src_wiretap_archives/70942/20110104/bulls_waive_john_lucas_iii/

    I smell a (Melo) trade coming.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    And you call other people clueless...

  • In reply to Houston:

    Houston,

    You read that right. Don't be one of them.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    John Lucas is getting waived so the Bulls can save money. If you think otherwise, you are an idiot. Period.

  • In reply to KingOfCrumbs:

    KOC,

    Do you have a mirror? Look in it.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Terrible hoops IQ and awful comebacks. You really are a dual threat guy. Can't wait to see what you come up with next.

  • In reply to KingOfCrumbs:

    why you be drinking that haterade?

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Bulls need to win this game. Rest some players up, let guys like JJ an Asik an Watson get some good play time.

    About time John Lucas is out of here, he was terrible.

    Score 100 pts get some burgers for everybody an lets see Scalabrine play haha

    Melo to Chicago isnt dead imo....its just quite, you never know what could happen.

  • In reply to Houston:

    Not saying that trade will happen, but I WOULDN'T BE SURPRISED, if it did.

  • In reply to Houston:

    I wouldn't call Happy clueless because remember... Melo did say that one of the two teams that he would welcome a trade to would be the Bulls and there are still a very few rumors that the Bulls still have a shot. Carmelo does not want get traded to N.J. and N.Y. just does not have the assets that Denver wants even though he could still end up there and he has told Denver that he's not resigning with them, so realistically... the Bulls do still have a shot as much as most Bulls fans don't like it which I think is crazy but we all have our own opinions. So again Melo never said that he would not welcome a trade to the Bulls, its just that if it were to happen, the Bulls will probably have to give up Deng to a team willing to take on his contract for next to nothing, maybe a draft pick or two and cash. Chances of the Bulls are slim to acquire Melo but they can put together a package that Denver would have to consider since he does not want N.J. and refuses to resign with anyone else. Or Denver can be stupid and let him walk at the end of the season and get nothing thinking that they're hurting him by losing money, evidently, Melo wants to be happy and go where he wants to be or have a real chance at winning a title, sounds like he's taking happiness over money which I'm sure no one can argue with such a choice, but some people will I'm sure...

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Reesel,

    Maybe they will listen to you, if they won't listen to me.

    Although, you and I seem to be on the same page, so what's the difference.?

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Not me either Happy but it is what it is...

  • In reply to Reese1:

    It's all just rumours, that the Bulls were acceptable was one of the rumours, the later rumours said the Knicks were the only team he'd sign an extension for.

  • Mitchell,

    Waiving him gives the Bulls more TRADE FLEXIBILITY.

    That's why they did it.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    It gives JR's pocket more CASH, which is why they did it. If they just wanted trade flexibility they could waive him at any time.

  • Who knew that JL3 was the key to obtaining Melo?

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Bigway,

    In the words of Melo, "I never said that."

  • Mitchell,

    Trust me. That's why they did it.

    Plus, try making trades on the TM w/ Lucas still on the roster.

    It's not as easy.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    they without a doubt are looking into trades, but they waived JL3 because of the deadline Mitch mentions

  • Mitchell,

    I'll give you a reason.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UM5TcUHkyPo

    $

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    The Bobcats aren't winning anytime soon.

    That said, Melo to Chicago and Deng to Charlotte = BIG $ for Brand Jordan.

  • csharp,

    JJ has 18 straight DNP's.

    Even I hope he gets some playing time IN THE 4TH QUARTER.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    thats just not true

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    infact, its a fairly clueless statement

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    ChiRy,

    Yes, it was true. Look it up.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Opps...I meant to say he has 18 DNP's this year.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    exactly

  • It's not a gamble it's outright ridiculous. The numbers I've heard peg Jordan as earning 16 million a year from Nike at the peak of his career. So apparently Melo coming to Chicago is going to sell the equivalent of two years worth of Air Jordans? Ha, MrHappy must have a big family with a shoe fetish if he thinks Melo will sell that many sneakers.

  • Bulls really turned on the D in the second and are blowing the Raptors away now. It's great to see Taj having a good game, he had struggled hard for a while. 23 bench points at the half would be about the best the team has done all season.

  • Cast off as early as next week sounds like good news, hopefully means it'll be closer to the 8 than 10 weeks.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    Can't wait to see how good this defense can be with him playing.

  • Nice!

  • The bench really came alive tonight. Come on now coach T, finally give Luol some rest.

  • In reply to Rincewind:

    Seriously, I understand he wants a starter in at all times, but isn't Taj and Brewer enough in a game like this? Give JJ a bit of a chance and let Deng get some rest, he's much more effective around the 34-36 minute mark.

  • In reply to Rincewind:

    STREAK OVER:

    JJ got in the game for some INSIGNIFICANT MINUTES.

    His streak of 18 straight DNP's in now over. Yippy!!!

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    My bad...I over-looked his LIMITED MINUTES vs. Philly and Min.

    Still, I believe he has 18 DNP's this year. I confused myself.

    It happens.

  • Solid effort, don't think anyone can really complain about only just struggling past a team tonight. Taj & Asik really played great, hopefully we'll see more of them in the future rather than riding old Big Sexy for so many minutes.

  • The difference with Asik today was he finished shots under pressure. Previously he's been getting hacked and then leaving half his points at the line because he's a terrible free throw shooter.

  • In reply to DontLetsStart:

    Shakes,

    For the most part, he went up strong and quick with plenty of power.

    That's how he needs to play.

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