Toronto Raptors Status Check:
Home Record: 6-6
Last game: Lost 97-91 @ Charlotte
Last 10 Games: 3-7
PPG: 102.4 (8th)
Opponents PPG: 105.2 (25th)
Offensive Rating: 107.7 (13th)
Defensive Rating: 110.6 (25th)
Pace: 95.1 (5th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .496 (15th)
Turnover Percentage: .144 (22nd)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .741 (18th)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .301 (3rd)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .240 (13th)
Opp. eFG%: .526 (28th)
Opp. TO%: .143 (11th)
Opp. FT/FGA: .252 (21st)
Stats from Basketball-Reference.com.
Let’s get the most important part of this preview out of the way first:
Yes, Derrick Rose is banged up.
Yes, he’s officially listed as day-to-day.
Yes, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau expects him to play against the Raptors tonight.
Said Thibs: “He had some soreness, but he appears to be fine. If he says he can play, he’ll play.”
And what does Rose say?
“If it’s up to me, I’m playing. Knowing that it’s only sore, and usually I can play through soreness. [The wrist] is not that bad. The wrist really is not that bad. If anything, my elbow hurts more than my wrist. Right now I’m a little beat up, but I think I should be able to play through it.”
So there you have it. Expect Rose to suit up.
Now…what can the Bulls expect from the Raptors in Toronto?
Lots of O and very little D.
In their past six games, the Raptors have scored 100 or more points four time and given up 100+ five times. Not coincidentally, they’ve dropped five of six. The only game the Raptors won in that stretch was against the Pistons. And that was only after Detroit collapsed after being up 25 points.
In the last six games, Toronto has surrendered the following point totals: 116, 124, 113, 123, 116, and 97. The 97 points were scored by a Bobcats team that ranks 21st in Pace and 26th in Offensive Rating. They average 93 PPG on 45 percent shooting, but they torched the Raptors for 52 percent shooting last night.
My point is, the Bulls should be able to put up points.
However, the Bulls need to be careful. Toronto can put up points too. They’ve scored 100 or more in 17 of their 25 games and they’re averaging 103.1 PPG at home.
But that’s okay.
While the Raptors have been getting lit up like a pinball machine in their last six games, the Bulls have been putting teams in a vice lately. In the last five games, Chicago has held opponents to 90, 83, 84, 82 and 73 points. Those last three scores set season lows for the respective teams (Lakers, Timberwolves, Pacers). And although their defense is better at home, the Bulls are still holding their opponents to 97.9 PPG on 44 percent shooting on the road.
As of today, Chicago is ranked third in Defensive Rating.
But the Bulls have to be diligent. The Raptors grab a lot of offensive rebounds — they rank fourth in total offensive rebounds — and so Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah will have to keep the defensive glass squeaky clean.
Chicago has the advantage that they’re coming off a day of rest and the Raptors lost on the road last night. Still, home teams with their backs against the wall are always dangerous. The Bulls need to stay focused, maintain their defensive intensity and execute on offense. Against this team, they should be able to get the shots they want if they’re smart and patient with the basketball.
Seven in a row has a nice ring to it.