Bulls vs Raptors 7pm on WGN

The race for seeding slows down tonight as the Bulls are the only relevant top team playing.  They take on the Raptors at the United Center, in a game which they should be dialed into after losing to the Raptors in Toronto following the all-star break.

Derrick Rose and company seem to take a 'never forget' attitude towards losses and look to really take it out on opponents who've beaten them in the past, as such, I don't expect them to take this game lightly.

The Raptors, on the other hand, aren't in a playoff race and the guys left are likely already making summer plans.  Toronto has lost five straight games, but occasionally they display enough offense to pull off some big upsets (like the Bulls earlier, and they beat the Thunder recently as well).

If the Bulls were going into this game lax, I might be concerned, but I expect them to be out for blood especially after a relatively lackluster effort last night in Detroit.

Play aggressively

The Bulls simply need to bring the energy on both ends of the court.   My biggest fear going into the playoffs with this team now is the staggering amount of times they come out flat, particularly in the starting line up.

When this team plays with energy, they're extremely difficult to beat, but when they don't fight for the loose balls and are slow moving around, they tend to find themselves in more trouble and close games.

The energy is almost always great in the second half of course, but it'd be nice to bury some of these bad teams early.

Toronto has no defense

Seriously, this should be a field day for Rose and Boozer against this Raptors team.  They have no one on the interior, no one to defend on the perimeter.   The Bulls need to focus with their passing, and they need to be patient with what they're doing.

Avoid sloppiness, and the Bulls should be primed for a big offensive outing.

Final thoughts

I expect the magic number to be down to four when this game is over.   Anything can happen, you can't always beat every poor team you play, however the Raptors took out the Bulls once already, I just don't see the Bulls slacking off against them because of that. 

That said, they were clearly good enough to beat them once, so anything can happen.    Especially of Noah sits, Kurt Thomas and Carlos Boozer trying to chase Bargnani around the three point line scares me a bit.

Comments

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  • The energy thing doesn't worry me for the playoffs, because guys get up for the playoffs. Same for the United Center crowd. That home game against Philly was ridiculous, no energy provided from the crowd. I don't think that happens so much in the playoffs.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Your absolutely correct. I was at that game and it was just so dead. Philly jumped out to such a huge lead right off the bat that it kind of took us out of it right away

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Congrats to Tex Winter for being selected to the HOF. That triangle offense still the best strategy going today, still winning championships with the right players of course. Pay back win for the Bulls tonight with JJ coming back to town, he's undefeated against his old team. Bulls need to get rid of the 0 for against him.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    I was really sceptical of Brewer, but I have to say he has really suprised me lately. I thought of him as a totally one-dimensional player. But if he's playing aggressively (like tonight), he can really do some damage offensively.
    He's got some very decent passing skills. I especially like how he's looking to dump it to Asik inside. If Asik learns how to catch the ball a little better, it will be a very effective offensive option.
    Keep it up Ronnie! I was wrong about you.

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  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Don't know why but on leaguepass they had the toronto commentators instead of Funk & Stacey - God it was terrible listening

  • Hopefully, they repeat their performance the last few games. Play well in the first two quarters to give Rose, Deng some rest.
    If Noah's ankle is fine, he should try his jump-shot kind of how Rose doesn't give up on his 3 pointers. We need Noah's jump-shot to work during the playoffs.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Speaking of Noah

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    Apparently, among other things, George Eddy conducts a shooting camp each summer in Paris. He has published 6 books about basketball (in French?).
    http://www.nba.com/blog/blog4.html

  • You indirectly brought up something that has been concerning me for a while.

    I am wondering if he regular slow starts are a product of of the easy schedule that we have been playing for some time now. Even if it is not a conscious decision they slack off thinking that they can turn it on when they need to and pull out the win.

    We could enter the playoffs lackadaisically due to the malaise created by this easy ending schedule. Hopefully it will only take a single game to get out of this funk, and it won't impact us beyond the first round.

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