Chicago Bulls look to extend road success against hapless Raptors

So this game looks like a lock, except we know there's no such thing as a lock with these Chicago Bulls. As awesome as they looked against a quality Atlanta Hawks team on Monday, it doesn't take a long memory to see how pathetic they looked Saturday against an awful Phoenix team. The Raptors will play without Andrea Bargnani and Jonas Valanciunas.

What do the Raptors have left? A mishmash of pedestrian players led by Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan.

The Raptors stink.
The Raptors played last night.
The Bulls are above average.
They have a day of rest.

These four things should add up to a fairly easy win, but Chicago has frequently played down to its competition. The lack of interior defense should allow Chicago to open up their interior passing game to score plenty in the paint. On offense, the Raptors don't feature any players that appear like particularly difficult matchups for Chicago.

If Andrea Bargnani were playing, I'd feel at least a little scared that Carlos Boozer wouldn't bother defending him out to the three point line or that the Bulls would need to pull Noah out of the paint to defend him leaving Carlos Boozer as the lone interior help defender. However, that's not the case, and the Raptors don't really have another big man to stretch the floor and cause this matchup problem.

On paper, this looks like an easy win. Stick to the fundamentals of sharing the ball, rebounding, playing transition defense, and forcing difficult shots and the Raptors should go down quietly. Of course, games aren't played on paper and watching this team over the past four games shows that they're just as likely to lose to a lousy team as to beat a good one.

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  • Doug...what are you talking about?

    Ever since Bargnani went out with the injury, the Raptors have actually been playing inspire basketball. They have a 10-6 record with Bargnani, and specifically a 7-4 record at home.

    They have some very solid players all over their roster. Ed Davis is producing at a near double double pace. DeRozan is actually living up to the contract he got. Their rookie Ross has been playing great for them. And the Calderon-Lowry mix they have is actually working with Calderon being a pure PG and Lowry being a change of pace PG who can so it all.

    With that said, Im gonna pick the Bulls but I wouldn't say this game is easy at all.

  • Until we get Derrick Rose back I can't say any game is a sure win. One game they'll have a blowout against a formidable opponent and look as though they could begin a run, then turn around and get blown out by the worse team in the NBA. That happens from time to time with any team but that has become the story of this season.

    The problem is we just don't have a consistent enough offense so any team has a shot a beating us. Without Rose our offense basically consists of who has the hot hand. Some games it's Deng, some games, it's Boozer, some it's been Noah or belineli, and some games everyone is off. The only thing that really keeps us in games is our team defense.

  • I have this gut feeling that bulls actually are consistent in that they play well against good teams and not against bad teams. Have they had a stinker vs. an opponent over .500?

    Interested if data backs this up, and don't know where/how to look for it, but I would like to see:

    1. Bulls record against teams over .500 v. below .500
    2. Point differential against teams over .500 v. below
    3. opponent's fg% against teams over .500 v. below
    4. How do these compare with other teams in the NBA?

    My feeling is that the Bulls are better than most teams in the NBA against good opponents and average or worse against bad opponents.

  • In reply to bfranke:

    Great point. They are also sending a message to Doug that this team's goal is not to provide Thibs with monthly plaudits. They will answer the brutal bloggers here with the results that matter by hammering the Miami Heat, New York Knicks and all the teams that are a true gauge of their quality. They will win when they need to win, and win decisively!

  • Good call on the Bulls interior advantage tonight Doug. Just now tuning into the game, but between Deng, Noah, and Boozer they have 25 points, 10 boards, and 8 assists. Boozer already with 17/5/3!

  • Bulls lose a 19 point lead because Thib's took out Hamilton what he really was in a rhythm and took out Boozer when he was in a roll. How many minutes did Jimmy Butler get tonight?

  • Tied at 105 apiece why isn't Rip in the game with Nate Robinson?

  • Tips is lucky... He pissed the lead away by have the wrong people on the floor in the fourth quarter. No Rip. No Nate. Gave Bellinelli the last shot in the 4th quarter when he turned the ball over twice before that. Rip shot 6 for 9 and Thibs sat him. Carlos
    sat most of the 4th while he was having a huge game. Butler got almost no tick. What was he thinking? Bellinelli on Kyle Lowery? Are you kidding me?

  • I think Thibs took Rip out the game because whenever that guy starts to get in a rhythm he gets injured. Unfortunetely no matter how good Rip is playing he's really only good for under 20 minutes. Anymore than that and he's at risk.

  • That makes no sense to me. If Toronto can't stop Rip, then you let Rip play until they show they can. Plus The Bulls offense was much crisper when he was in the game. Thibbs almost blew this one.

  • In reply to AlgernonHPenn:

    I think it was when Heinrich was out, as they needed Belli as a secondary ball handler to complement Nate. Although I can understand the reasoning, it is obviously not something that should be repeated.

  • In reply to AlgernonHPenn:

    The obvious answer is that Bulls want to trade Hamilton before the deadline, which will be harder if he's injured, so they're limiting his minutes.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    Then why play him at all? The goal is to win games. If he has a uniform on, then he should be ready to play. If the Bulls front office feels he's that brittle, then don't play him. I can accept a loss if he's not able to play. But this is a stupid approach to try and win games...Dumb. Just plain dumb. This will catch up with them when they continue to play back to backs and upper echelon teams...

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