The odds of hitting a bullseye according to some site I found on the internet is 1/50. The Odds the Raptors beat the 11-2 Bulls is probably greater than that. In fact this entire road trip offers no easy games with stops in Atlanta and Boston after this. But at least the schedule slows down a little for the Raptors after this. A day off between games in this season is gold as the Raptors will play on Monday in Atlanta and Wednesday in Boston. Chicago returns home after beating Boston last night. The Bulls have been on the road a lot with only 4 of their first 13 games at the United Center. But when they have been home they haven't lost.
Raptors coach Dwane Casey took all the blame for the loss vs the Pacers last night. No doubt he deserves some of it. But not all of it. If his team had just made it's free throws it never would have come down to one of their worst free throw shooters in Jamaal Magloire having to make free throws to keep the game alive. The Raptors would be happy if this game was close enough to be within free throws. But the Bulls are rolling and even a turf toe injury to last year's MVP Derrick Rose has not slowed them down. Beyond him the Bulls have the depth of talent most teams would dream to have. That depth got even better with the addition of Rip Hamilton. Bulls are on a 4 game winning streak in which they are destroying people. They have won by an average of 14.5 points during this winning streak. That includes a 24 point margin in which they clobbered the Pistons.
3 Keys to Game
Bombs Away Bulls- Bulls have a few 3 point specialist and you need to be aware when they are on the floor. Derrick Rose will be you can count on that. Brewer, Korver and Watson are the 3 most likely shooters from behind the arc. If Bulls get driving to the paint and kick out to any of these guys it will be a long night at the office for the Raptors.
Rose Owns Jose- Derrick Rose injured or not will have no problem handling Jose Calderon. He has had little problems with him in the past and tonight should be no different. Raptors may look to go zone a lot and try to keep Rose out of the paint that way. The odds seem a lot better. Problem will be the first point we made. The Bulls do have a few capable three point shooters.
Glass Wars- The Bulls have a number of guys that are more than capable rebounders. Noah, Boozer, Gibson even Asik. Raptors will be hard pressed to even stay close in the rebounding battle. But the most important thing is keeping the Bulls off the offensive glass and giving them 2nd chances. They are good enough you really don't need give Derrick Rose another 24 seconds to kill you.
After a tough loss and travelling to Chicago I find it hard to believe the Raptors will stand a chance in this one. That being said last night with no Bargnani (Which should be same tonight) I thought they had zero chance to be competitive but they were. Doing the same tonight will be a much bigger challenge.