landry fields forever
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Living in a van down by the river
Daily Raptor Dish - 05.01.11
Raptors get bullied in Chicago
Derrick Rose is blooming
To beat a much better team, NBA squads generally need to move the ball well and outwork their more talented opponents.
The 11-23 Raptors did neither and predictably got run over by the red-hot Chicago Bulls 111-91 on Tuesday night at the United Center
The 23-10 Bulls have won 14-of-16 games and, led by standout floor general Derrick Rose, look like they are going to be a factor in the East this spring.
The Raptors? Well, they’ve dropped 12-of-15 and are doing their part for the long-term good of the franchise by trying to join the truly horrific basement dwellers of the league.
“We have a lot of guys out of position and hurt, however there are no excuses,” said head coach Jay Triano.
Triano simply doesn’t have the horses to beat a team like the Bulls. The lack of an elite talent — like Rose — on the roster is crystal clear and only the ping pong balls can bring a saviour to town.
The Raptors knew what Rose was going to do and made keeping him in check their priority, but it just didn’t happen. Instead, the Chicago native and MVP candidate broke down the visitors whenever he felt like it, getting to the rim for one spectacular play or pass after another.
Rose’s tally of 19 points and six assists in 30 minutes doesn’t stand out on the surface, but 14 of the points came in the first 17 minutes of the contest when the game remained in doubt
Bulls run Raptors out of town in 111-91 win
Chris Bosh fled Toronto for Miami in search of success, as well as more exposure.
The win part is certainly coming to pass. Not so much the other part of the equation.
According to the Raptors, Bosh had 553,230 all-star votes through the second returns last season.
Despite all the Heat hype, Bosh has received just 260,007 votes through the second returns this season.
NO FANS OF REGGIE
It is not really a secret, but opponents really don’t like going up against injured Raptors forward Reggie Evans.
This week’s Sports Illustrated reveals that out of 168 NBA players asked “Who do you hate to see between you and the hoop?” 2% said Evans.
Only three players — Shaquille O’Neal (40%), Dwight Howard (30%) and LeBron James (10%) got more support.
Rookie Blake Griffin tied Evans at 2%.
Surging Bulls beat Raptors
After Rose and the Bulls were finished with Bayless and the Raptors, putting up a 111-91 victory in front of a sellout crowd of 21,290 at the United Center, Toronto’s hoopsters looked like they could use the embrace of some loving arms, not to mention the speedy healing of an injury-plagued roster. Now losers of six of their last seven, the Raptors played without usual starters Jose Calderon (who recently acquired a sore right ankle to go with his sore left foot), and Sonny Weems (who didn’t travel due to a wonky back).
But the Bulls, to be fair, were without energetic big man Joakim Noah, still recovering from thumb surgery, and it didn’t stop them from dominating the Raptors around the basket, in no small part because of Rose’s incessant penetration. When Rose wasn’t scoring, and he finished with 19 points and six assists in 30 minutes, he was leaving the defence in disarray while his teammates cleaned up his misses with timely putbacks. Small wonder the Bulls outscored the Raptors 58-38 in the paint and out-rebounded them 44-33 while shooting an all-too-comfortable 53 per cent from the field.
“Defensively, we just had lapses,” Bayless said after it was over.
Said Andrea Bargnani, the Toronto centre: “They basically did whatever they wanted to do.”
Bargnani, who hadn’t played in 13 days thanks to a strained calf muscle, finished with 23 points on 7-for-17 shooting. He was also, like a lot of his teammates, a more-than-occasional liability on defence. In one stretch, he was roundly outplayed by Bulls reserve centre Omer Asik who, with Bargnani often offering minimal resistance, racked up 13 points and seven rebounds in 20 minutes.
If certain Raptors looked like statues, at least they were in decent company. Sitting courtside was Scottie Pippen, the Bulls Hall of Famer who is slated to have his bronze likeness installed around the United Center later this season. Pippen, in a black leather coat and jeans, looked lean and ready for action; he even banked in a pre-game three-pointer to the delight of the early birds who saw him toss up a few jumpers in the warm-up. Hard to believe he’s 45 years old, and that it’ll be 20 years this June that the Bulls, led by Michael Jordan, whose bronze likeness has stood guard outside the arena since 1994, won their first of six championships.
Less implausible was DeMar DeRozan, coming off a pair of games in which he’d scored a combined 64 points on 45 field-goal attempts in Bargnani’s absence, managed 14 tries from the field and finished with 18 points.
It didn’t help DeRozan’s productivity that the Bulls commanded the boards, making it difficult for Toronto to run, and that the visitors’ half-court offence, against Chicago’s stifling defence, was often a mess. At its worst, it devolved into bad playground freelancing, Bayless tossing up prayers on the run.
Bulls batter Raptors in Bargnani's return
The Chicago Bulls clobbered another struggling team and got some rest for a couple of their key players.
It was perfect timing, too.
Luol Deng scored 24 points and the surging Bulls beat the Toronto Raptors 111-91 on Tuesday night.
Derrick Rose added 19 points and six assists for the Bulls, who have won 14 of 16. Reserve Taj Gibson had 16 points and 14 rebounds, helping Chicago to a 44-33 edge on the glass and a 58-38 advantage in points in the paint.
Rose and Carlos Boozer, who had 12 points and 13 rebounds, rested during the fourth quarter as the Bulls began a stretch of four games in five nights with their fifth consecutive victory.
“Everybody should be rested up,” Rose said.
The Bulls have taken advantage of a soft schedule that's consisted of only three teams above .500 in their last 16 games. They play two more, Wednesday at New jersey and Friday at Philadelphia, before hosting the Celtics on Saturday.
Bulls rest starters in 111-91 blowout of Raptors
Bargnani made his first appearance in 2011 for the Raptors, having missed the previous four games. (He also missed two of the four games before that because of ankle and knee ailments.) Offensively, he showed little rust early on.
On the first play of the game, he took the ball to the basket immediately, blowing past ancient Bulls centre Kurt Thomas. On the next Raptors possession, he knocked down a three-pointer. He was dominant early on, with 16 of his 23 points coming in the opening half.
The problem, however, was everyone else. The Raptors had trouble scoring in the four games without Bargnani, averaging just more than 88 points. And Bargnani’s return did not make them any more productive.
A lot of that had to do with point guard Jose Calderon missing the game because of a sprained right ankle. Too often in the first half, the Raptors relied on one-on-one offence, or failing that, pick-and-roll situations. Both inevitably result in a lot of standing around from the players away from the ball, and accordingly, the Raptors shot just 39% in the opening half and turned the ball over 10 times.
DeMar DeRozan combined for 64 points over the previous two games, but looked a bit more passive with Bargnani back in the lineup. He took just four field-goal attempts in the first half as the Raptors struggled to find any offensive flow. He also turned the ball over four times in the opening half.
However, he got more involved in the second half as Bargnani pulled back. DeRozan wound up with 19 points, but the DeRozan-Bargnani union never looked especially cohesive.
The Raptors’ first half was full of contested fall-away bank shots and guarded jumpers. Jerryd Bayless, who himself was playing with a wonky ankle and grimacing often, is still working on becoming a true point guard; Leandro Barbosa is even less of a ball distributor. The Bulls are one of the league’s elite defensive teams, and without Calderon, Toronto could not solve the mystery that is the Bulls’ defence.
Cleveland vs. Toronto
With their fifth straight victory, the Bulls also have two winning streaks of at least five games in the same season for the first time since 2006-07.
And they did it with depth, which is significant given they began four games in five nights.
"Everybody contributed," Carlos Boozer said. "You saw how much fun we had on the bench watching those (reserves) get busy. That's why we're a team. We need everybody."
Derrick Rose had 19 points with six assists in three quarters, Luol Deng added 24 points and Boozer — who also sat the entire fourth — posted 12 points and 13 rebounds for his sixth double-double in seven games.
But the game turned with energetic, second-quarter bench performances from Taj Gibson, Ronnie Brewer and Omer Asik. Gibson, in particular, came up big, posting a double-double by halftime after not hitting double figures in either points or rebounds since Dec. 11.
"Pip was on me early, saying I have to score," Gibson said. "I've been pushing hard in practice and it paid off."
Gibson finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds and also helped with the matchup nightmare that is Andrea Bargnani, who Kurt Thomas had no business guarding.
"His defense was terrific," coach Tom Thibodeau said of Gibson.
In just a 5 minute, 44 second second-quarter stint, Asik went with the deuces wild theme, making both of his shots, grabbing two rebounds and blocking two shots. He finished with a career-high 13 points and a career-high-tying seven rebounds in 20 minutes.
Asik also had a career-high five blocks, with his rejection of Jerryd Bayless early in the fourth leading to C.J. Watson' pretty fast break that Brewer capped with a dunk.
"He's getting better and better," Boozer said of Asik. "He plays big. He plays great D, blocks shots, rebounds. His offense is coming along. He's trying to dunk every ball he gets, even hitting his free throws."
The possible return of two starters and a visit from the Toronto Raptors could be what Cleveland needs to snap its latest skid.
Last in the Eastern Conference, the Cavaliers hope to avoid an eighth consecutive loss by extending their home winning streak over the Raptors to 12 games Wednesday night.
Though Cleveland's recent home dominance over Toronto came with superstar LeBron James in the lineup, that history of success against the Raptors could still be a means of motivation for the struggling Cavaliers.
Cleveland (8-26) has lost 17 of 18 and been forced to deal with a rash of injuries to some key players lately.
"It's always tough," coach Byron Scott said. "The whole situation we're in right now is tough."
Things could get better if injured starters Anderson Varejao (broken cheekbone) and Daniel Gibson (bruised thigh) are able to return. Both missed the last two games, but practiced Tuesday.
The 6-foot-11 Varejao, who will wear a protective mask, averages a team-leading 9.8 rebounds. Gibson, meanwhile, has averaged 14.5 points in 10 games since cracking the starting lineup Dec. 8.
"We'll see how guys feel (Wednesday) morning and we'll go from there," Scott told the Cavaliers' official website. "I'm optimistic. I feel pretty good about it."
Mo Williams returned from a two-game absence with a strained hip, but managed just five points on 2-of-11 shooting in Sunday's 104-95 loss to Dallas. Though he's averaged 17.8 points and 7.2 assists in his last six games against the Raptors, a groin injury forced him to miss the Cavaliers' 101-81 loss at Toronto on Oct. 29.
Veteran Antawn Jamison has averaged 23.3 points on 52.9 percent shooting the last six games. He had a season-high 35 points with 10 rebounds against Dallas.
Jamison is averaging 21.8 points in his career against the Raptors, but was held to a team-high 13 in October.
Though the Raptors shot 47.6 percent in that contest, they've made 43.8 percent of their shots while averaging 94.9 points during their extended road skid against the Cavaliers dating to an 87-86 win April 6, 2004.
Toronto's 11 straight losses in Cleveland matches the franchise's longest skid in any city.
That doesn't bode well after the Raptors (11-23) lost their third in a row and 12th in 15 games, 111-91 at Chicago on Tuesday.
"The little things, loose balls you have to get those," Raptors forward Amir Johnson said.
Andrea Bargnani scored 23 points after missing four games with a sore calf, and DeMar DeRozan added 18 as Toronto fell to 4-13 on the road.
The 7-foot Bargnani is averaging a career-high 21.3 points this season, but 10.9 in seven career games at Cleveland.
It's uncertain if guard Jose Calderon will be in the Toronto lineup after missing Tuesday's contest with a sprained right ankle.