You might not think so, but there are a lot of positives for the Raptors heading into tonight’s game with the Bulls. The first is that the Bulls just stink on the road. They’re 4-15 on the road this season, which bodes well for the Raptors, who have been playing decent ball at home lately. Coming off of a “strong loss” at the hands of the Celtics on Monday night, the Raptors have plenty to be pleased with as far as the quality of their play goes. They didn’t show much energy in game 1 versus the Celtics, but in the span of one night, they were able to turn things around and get it together, eventually losing to the Celtics in overtime.
The interesting comparison between these two teams is that while they have similar records, the Bulls have players coming back to the lineup whereas the Raptors have been playing without JO and Jose for a while now (other than that ill-advised game against the Celtics where Jose tried to come back). This should be a promising sign for the Bulls, but there is going to be a lot of rust on Hinrich. I also have to question the toughness of Deng. Who misses 8 games with a sprained ankle? Sometimes guys want to be moved and they don’t have to say anything to get their point across.
The Bulls have some interesting “bigs” who are able to effectively maximize their size based on their positioning. Guys like Drew Gooden may seem to take a play or two off, but he is also able to bring double-double talent to the court on almost every night.
The Bulls have enough athletes on the team that they can use speed to beat you back down the court, so the Raptors will have to watch for somebody leaking out in order to cut the pass off.
3 in the Key
1. If the Raptors are going to run and gun with the Bulls, they will have to make sure that this means both ways on the court.
2. Hold a lead. If the Raptors do manage to get up in this game, they need to do whatever they can to finish the game off.
3. Continue going to the basket. It showed that it can work when it is used as a viable option (in game 2).