Bulls-Raptors Preview

Toronto Raptors Status Check:
Record: 4-8
Division: 1-2
Conference: 3-6
Road Record: 2-4
Streak: Lost 3
Last game: 95-90 loss to Indiana
PPG: 88.0 (27th)
Opponents PPG: 93.0 (9th)
Offensive Rating: 98.4 (25th)
Defensive Rating: 104.0 (20th)
Pace: 89.4 (26th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .476 (16th)
Turnover Percentage: .158 (27th)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .743 (14th)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .240 (23rd)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .208 (18th)
Opp. eFG%: .452 (4th)
Opp. TO%:  .120 (26th)
Opp. FT/FGA: .278 (30th)
Leading scorer: Andrea Bargnani (22.3)

Stats from Basketball-Reference

Toronto Injury Report:
Andrea Bargnani: missed Friday’s game (strained left calf)
Jerryd Bayless: missed Friday’s game (sprained left ankle)

Chicago is almost out of their stretch of 12 games in 17 nights, with just three more to play including tonight. The Bulls are coming off a win against the Celtics; a Boston team that doesn’t have much figured out right now. But the Bulls stayed on track and some guys found their way back to productivity.

Last night Joakim Noah played well again, recording a double-double with ten points and 12 rebounds. It was Noah’s second double-double of the season (He also recorded 39 minutes, the most he’s played this season). And while we’re on the topic, Luol Deng earned his third straight double-double. Deng scored 21 points and 16 rebounds. It was just the fourth time in his career Lu grabbed at least 16 boards.

Those stats could haunt the Bulls, because the starters had to put up big minutes to get them. The starters totaled at least 34 minutes (Carlos Boozer) going all the way up to 43 for—you guessed it—Deng.

Toronto is coming in having played last night too; the Raptors lost to Indiana. And although it was hard fought game, Toronto’s minutes were a little more spread out. Jose Calderon and DeMar DeRozan both logged 41 minutes, but the next highest was 30 for Ed Davis.

Without their leading scorer Andrea Bargnani, Toronto needed someone to step up and they found two guys to do that. DeRozan scored 23 points and Leandro Barbosa scored 20 points in 25 minutes off the bench.

But it isn’t going to be easy against the stingy Chicago defense. According to STATS LLC, “The Bulls are allowing a league-low 85.3 points and have been significantly better at home, yielding an average of 67.5 points on 33.9 percent shooting.”

Add in that the Raptors are the 25th in the league in offensive rating, and it looks like it will be hard for the Raps to find points. They’ve only scored 100 points once this year, in their season opener against Cleveland.

Toronto is in the midst of a three game losing streak, which opened up with a 93-78 loss to Washington; the Wizards only win of the season thus far (and possibly the only win Washington will get all year).

A way to see where the Raptors are…Rasual Butler is starting at small forward for them. The guy who couldn’t find his way off the Bulls bench when Chicago signed him at the end of last year is starting for Toronto. And behind him is another ex-Bull James Johnson. Johnson probably was having nightmares last night because of this…

Rose’s huge swat on Johnson

The Bulls took three of four from Toronto last season, winning both games in Chicago. The Bulls scored 111.8 points per game against the Raptors, their second highest against any opponent. But the Bulls also gave up 102.0 points per game, which was the fifth highest opponent average.

Chicago killed the offensive glass against the Raptors, recording offensive rebound percentages of 36.8, 34.2, 37.2 and 39.5. The Bulls averaged 14.5 offensive rebounds and 42.5 total rebounds, while the Raptors grabbed 8.8 offensive boards and 33.5 total rebounds per game.

Toronto is 1-3 this year with no rest, and was 6-13 last season. Chicago is 4-2 this year with no rest after going 18-5 last season.

Half court Bullies: “The Bulls entered Friday’s game allowing 0.78 points per play in the half court, which ranked second-best in the NBA.” –ESPN Stats and Information

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