Preview: Biggest game of the season

Well, it comes down to this.  The Raptors and the Bulls tied for the 8th spot, with the Raptors holding the tie-breaker advantage.  The winner of the game will very likely win the 8th and final playoff spot in the East, while the loser will probably hope for a miracle in lottery land.

Neither team is playing good basketball.  The Raptors have lost 4 straight and now they don’t have their best player while the Bulls barely got by Cleveland at home and lose to the league worst New Jersey Nets on Friday.  They also lose to Andrew Bogut-less Milwaukee Bucks this week.  Sometimes I wonder if they actually want to get into the 8th spot.
Anyway, let’s look at the respective starting 5:

Chicago

PG: Derrick Rose

SG: Kirk Hinrich

SF: Luol Deng

PF: Taj Gibson

C: Joaquim Noah

Comment:  The Bulls starting 5 have a lot of good rebounders.  Noah, Gibson and Deng can all crash the boards.  However, the starting 5 doesn’t have a lot of range with their perimeter play.  Deng and Rose are more comfortable with midrange, while you can never count on Hinrich.  I think he is the key to the Bulls, if he can knock down the open looks, the Raptors will be in for a long night.  They don’t have a low post scorer, so they really rely on ball movement and the driving ability of Derrick Rose.  When the Raptors saw Rose in December, he was hampered by an ankle injury.  Right now, he is playing great basketball on offense, though a complete sieve on defense.

Toronto.

PG: Jose Calderon

SG: Sonny Weems

SF: Hedo Turkoglu

PF: Amir Johnson

C: Andrea Bargnani

Comment:  Having Weems and Amir Johnson in the starting 5 would give Toronto some sorely needed athletic ability they desperately need.  They will miss Bosh a lot since CB4 commands a lot of double team.  They will rely on lots of pick and rolls and with Calderon and Turkoglu.  The Bulls defense is pretty decent and they do have good quickness, though the defense has slipped in the last couple of games.  The Raptors have to attack Derrick Rose on D, he isn’t particularly good this season and it’s up to Jack and Calderon to create mismatches.  Turkoglu and Amir Johnson are pretty foul prone, and without Wright and Bosh in the lineup, these two players have to move their feet and get into better defensive stance.

What to look for: I expect the Raptors to play alot of zone defense, while I see the Bulls going small a lot, using Deng as a PF.  The Raptors have issues with small lineups all year long.

Raptors win if: They could limit the offensive rebounds from the Bulls.  A bad shooting night from the Bulls will also help.  On offense, the Raptors need Andrea Bargnani to step up and be the number option on offense.  He hasn’t been very good in April, however only shooting 36% from the field.  The Raptors will probably use the pack the paint mentality and gamble on the Bulls not hitting their jumpers.  The Raptors is at home and the Bulls are playing 3 games in 4 nights, so in theory the Raptors should have more ‘legs’ and energy; though you can never count on it as we learn throughout the season.

The Bulls win if: They could hit their 3 point looks.  The Raptors will give up good looks, not sure the Bulls can hit them though.  Also, the Bulls can win by limiting their turnovers and crash the board hard.  Again the Raptors is a soft team, so if I am coaching the Bulls, I would have the players crashing the boards from the start.  The Raptors have a lot of jumper shooters and ball handlers, which will create some issues on the defensive ends, but they will give up a lot of points on the defensive end especially on transition D.

This should be one exciting but ugly game.  I don’t do prediction, but I will just say, may the less awful team win.

Advertisements

Tags: ,

2 Responses to “Preview: Biggest game of the season”

  1. Toronto Raptors Morning Coffee April 11 | The AltRaps Blog Says:

    […] New Leisure Blog The Bulls starting 5 have a lot of good rebounders.  Noah, Gibson and Deng can all crash the boards.  However, the starting 5 doesn’t have a lot of range with their perimeter play.  Deng and Rose are more comfortable with midrange, while you can never count on Hinrich.  I think he is the key to the Bulls, if he can knock down the open looks, the Raptors will be in for a long night.  They don’t have a low post scorer, so they really rely on ball movement and the driving ability of Derrick Rose.  When the Raptors saw Rose in December, he was hampered by an ankle injury.  Right now, he is playing great basketball on offense, though a complete sieve on defense. Share and Enjoy: […]

  2. Toronto Raptors Morning Coffee April 11 | Slam Dunking Says:

    […] New Leisure Blog The Bulls starting 5 have a lot of good rebounders.  Noah, Gibson and Deng can all crash the boards.  However, the starting 5 doesn’t have a lot of range with their perimeter play.  Deng and Rose are more comfortable with midrange, while you can never count on Hinrich.  I think he is the key to the Bulls, if he can knock down the open looks, the Raptors will be in for a long night.  They don’t have a low post scorer, so they really rely on ball movement and the driving ability of Derrick Rose.  When the Raptors saw Rose in December, he was hampered by an ankle injury.  Right now, he is playing great basketball on offense, though a complete sieve on defense. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: