Toronto Raptors Status Check:
Road Record: 4-12
Last game: Lost 93-79 to the Celtics
Last 10 Games: 3-7
PPG: 100.2 (11th)
Opponents PPG: 104.4 (25th)
Offensive Rating: 105.9 (16th)
Defensive Rating: 110.3 (27th)
Pace: 94.6 (6th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .492 (16th)
Turnover Percentage: .146 (25th)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .744 (18th)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .296 (4th)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .225 (17th)
Opp. eFG%: .526 (28th)
Opp. TO%: .142 (10th)
Opp. FT/FGA: .246 (21st)
Stats from Basketball-Reference.com.
The Raptors are in a funk, having lost 11 of their last 14 games. And their three wins have come against the Pistons (11-23), Nets (9-25) and the Dirk Nowitzki-less Mavericks.
In all fairness, their most recent losses have come while playing without some of their starters. Leading scorer Andrea Bargnani has missed the last four games with a sore left calf. Jerryd Bayless missed Toronto’s last game due to a sprained left ankle. And Sonny Weems has missed the last seven games with back spasms.
That said, Bargnani and Bayless are expected to play against the Bulls tonight. However, Weems is expected to miss the game and starting point guard Jose Calderon is questionable with a sprained ankle.
There’s no question that the Raptors will be better with Bargnani and Bayless in uniform. But in Bargnani’s case, conditioning may be an issue.
Said Toronto coach Jay Triano: “We have to find a way to get (Bargnani’s) rhythm back and get him in. It may be short spurts. He’s tried to maintain his conditioning through this, but it’s nothing compared with games.”
Now, believe it or not, the Raptors have been on a roll against the Bulls in Chicago. The dinosaurs have won five of their last six games in the United Center, including the last three in a row. According to STATS LLC, Toronto has averaged 107.2 PPG while holding Chicago to 93.2 PPG during that stretch. Over the last three of those games, Derrick Rose has scored 13.7 points and shot 42.9 percent.
Of course, the Raptors haven’t played in Chicago since losing Chris Bosh. Or, for that matter, since Carlos Boozer started suiting up for the Bulls. So perhaps only recent history matters. When the Bulls played in Toronto on December 15th, Rose struggled in the scoring department (6 points on 3-for-9 shooting), but he had 11 assists as Chicago shot 53 percent as a team and won 110-93.
However, Bargnani didn’t play in that game. So there’s that.
The key to this game is that the Raptors are a terrible defensive team, one of the worst in the league. As long as they’re patient and execute their offense, the Bulls should be able to get any shot they want. Chicago’s biggest concern should be protecting the offensive glass, since Toronto is ranked fourth in Offensive Rebound Percentage. And the Bulls are ranked only 14th in Defensive Rebound Percentage (.747), making them roughly average. Particularly in Joakim Noah’s absence.