Bulls-Raptors Preview

Toronto Raptors Status Check:
Record: 14-24
Division: 1-6
Conference: 8-10
Home Record: 10-8
Last 10 Games: 5-5
Streak: Lost 5
Last game: 113-106 loss to Brooklyn
PPG: 96.8 (14th)
Opponents PPG: 98.8 (20th)
Offensive Rating: 105.9 (12th)
Defensive Rating: 108.0 (26th)
Pace: 89.9 (25th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .484 (18th)
Turnover Percentage: .122 (2nd)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .732 (15th)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .254 (20th)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .212 (11th)
Opp. eFG%: .498 (18th)
Opp. TO%: .137 (13th)
Opp. FT/FGA: .258 (30th)
Leading scorer: DeMar DeRozan (17.7)

Stats from Basketball-Reference

Raptors Injury Report:
Alan Anderson: left Tuesday’s game (chipped tooth)
Andrea Bargnani: bruised elbow (out)
Linas Kleiza: sore knee (missed Tuesday’s game)
Jonas Valanciunas: fractured finger (out)

How will the Bulls follow up one of the best defensive performances—that was aided by some awful offense from Atlanta—in NBA history? Will they use it as a building block to finally get on track, especially in the United Center, or will it be just an impressive win scattered between disappointing losses? Well knowing the Bulls, and knowing how up and down they are, it’s really anybody’s guess.

They may come out still fired up from Tom Thibodeau ripping into them before that Hawks games, or they may fall flat, going from such a high (59 points allowed!) to some sort of low (losing to Toronto).

Take for example, three of their biggest wins this season and what they did after them.

-On December 21, the Bulls dominated the Knicks for most of the game in Madison Square Garden. The next day, Atlanta returned the favor for New York, blowing out the Bulls.

-Chicago followed its impressive win over the Heat in Miami by protecting its home court against the visiting Cavaliers.

-The Bulls went into MSG again on January 11 and got their second win of the season in that arena. They then promptly went home and lost to Phoenix, ending the Suns’ 12-game road losing streak.

For a team that used to be so consistent, the Bulls have been all over the map this year.

But it all came together against the Hawks. “Everybody was ready to go” Taj Gibson said after the win. “We ran back hard. It was the best I’ve seen our defensive transition all year. We were flying back on D and getting stops. They were frustrated. It’s one game. We hope we can build off it.”

Their first chance to build is against Toronto. The Raptors are on the second night of back-to-back, coming off of a loss to the Nets. Brooklyn won its seventh straight game, behind 22 points from Brook Lopez and 21 each by Deron Williams and Joe Johnson.

Kyle Lowry was Toronto’s high-scorer, finishing with 21 points on seven field goals off the bench (19 of those points came in the fourth quarter). Amir Johnson added 15 off the pine, while Jose Calderon led the starters with 15 points. The Raptors shot quite well actually, finishing 48.8 from the field, 53.8 (7-13) from three and 82.6 (19-23) from the line.

What did Toronto in were its uncharacteristic turnovers. They rank second in turnover percentage (.122) and were ninth in opponent turnover percentage (.139) heading into that game. But the Raps turned it over eight more times (14-6) than Brooklyn. And the Nets capitalized, scoring 24 points off of Toronto’s 14 giveaways, while the Raptors scored just eight points off of Brooklyn’s mishaps.

Getting a win in Toronto would be a nice step, as the Bulls next three games come against tough opponents in the Celtics, Grizzlies and Lakers. The last two of those match-ups are in Chicago, which isn’t necessarily a good thing, considering the Bulls’ 11-10 home record.

“We have to play with great intensity all the time,” Tom Thibodeau said. “You can’t relax, never exhale. We have to grind and fight. We have to do it day after day.” Day Two is today.

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One Response to Bulls-Raptors Preview

  1. sarutkow@gmail.com'
    scott r January 16, 2013 at 3:39 pm #

    All the Bulls have to fear is this:


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