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Gameday: Raptors vs Bulls, January 26

Raps head to Chicago to play Daaaa Bulls on a back-to-back.

8 mins read
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Photo via NBC Sports

I pity the gambler rolling on Toronto every night. How the Hell do you possibly find any rhyme or reason to these guys?

No Scottie or Fred and we throttle the Hornets? I guess Charlotte is kinda like us in the sense that they’re just randomly gonna no-show games. If there is a rhyme to the Raptors, it’s in their upcoming schedule:

Charlotte
Chicago
Miami
Atlanta
Miami
Chicago
Atlanta
Charlotte

It’s basically a palindrome.

The Skinny

Last time I wrote one of these things on the Bulls, I prophesized that the damn game wouldn’t/shouldn’t go ahead and LO AND BEHOLD. Coulda saved me 600 words of effort, Adam.

Whatever your stance on fate, Basketball Gods can be cruel caretakers of our sport.

The Chicago Bulls shocked the league with their early season success (currently tied for 2nd in the East). Everyone HATED on the DeMar trade. (We faithful know better than to poo-poo on DDR’s game; he’s 6th in scoring thus far). Most thought the roster composition was a disaster and that they’d be a lower-tier playoff team at best.

Wrong.

The Alex Caruso and Lonzo Ball acquisitions were genius. DDR is playing First-Team-All-NBA level. Zach Lavine’s adapted well to being a 1(A),(B),(C) Alpha depending on the night and their bench has been a pleasant surprise particularly with the sudden emergence of 2nd rounder Ayo Dosunmu.

Chicago started the season 4-1. Then the Bulls’ future crown jewel and essential wing defender, Patrick Williams (the “OG” [if you will] of the Bulls) injured his wrist. He may return this season, he may not. A crushing blow. The Bulls persevered.

For the next 30 games, Chicago went 21-9. They managed COVID and injuries and kept on trucking punctuated by b-2-b game-winning daggers by our boy. First, against Indiana:

Then the next night against Washington:

https://twitter.com/SInow/status/1477471342156865536?s=20

As I said, though, basketball’s overseers can be unkind. Alex Caruso missed a bunch of games with a hamstring injury. Then Lonzo Ball tears his meniscus. Then Alex Caruso comes back and gets wallopped by Grayson Allen who was subsequently suspended for being the filthy player everyone knows he is:

One could construe this as just a hard basketball play, but it’s Grayson fucking Allen. That dude has been a big old, desiccated pile of shit for over a decade now.

From his days at [* vomits in mouth *] Duke to Summer League to the NBA, he seeks to injure. I am pretty willing to bet he was one of those kids torturing animals and playing with matches at night. He has some sociopathic tendencies in his game. Watch the sheer volume of cheapness in his early basketball career:

Okay, Gray has nothing to do with this piece, but it’s hard to avoid talking about assholes. Anyway, Caruso broke his wrist and is out for several months. Chicago, without its three best defenders, is in trouble. Zach’s missed some time too, but you can see the impact of their absences.

Since December 26th, Ball and Caruso have missed 11 and 15 games respectively – they haven’t played together during that time. They’re 10-7 in that time, but their best wins have been against ATL (twice) and CLE. The rest of their opponents were compost scraps.

My point, again: they’re in trouble.

Pre December 26th, Chicago had the 7th best offensive rating and 9th best defensive rating. Since, 11th and 21st. They were once allowing 106 points per game. Now, they hemorrhage 113.

Since that fated Boxing Day, they seldom get to the rim and are shooting the 5th lowest number of 3s a game. That’s no surprise with Nikola Vučević and DeMar DeRozan running show (Zach missed the last 5 games) – mid-range Gawds. That said, the threes they take they hit. So, don’t leave ’em open.

Freddy and Scottie are hopefully back. Let’s make these guys uncomfortable:

Go-go Gadget Raptors full-court press:

Game Info

Tip-off: 8pm EST | TV: TSN4, TSN5, BSSUN, TSN | Radio: TSN 1050

Toronto Raptors Results, Lineups & Injuries

Previous Results

vs Hornets W 125-113
vs Trail Blazers L 114-105
@ Wizards W 109-105
@ Mavericks L 102-98
@ Heat L 104-99

Probable Lineup

PF: P. Siakam
SF: O. Anunoby, S. Barnes, Y. Watanabe, J. Champagnie
C: C. Boucher, P. Achiuwa
PG: F. VanVleet, M. Flynn, D. Banton
SG: G. Trent Jr., S. Mykhailiuk, I. Bonga

Injuries

Fred VanVleet, SGDay-To-Day
Scottie Barnes, SFDay-To-Day
David Johnson, PGOut moreJohnson (COVID-19 protocols) won’t be available for Tuesday’s game against the Hornets
Khem Birch, COut moreBirch is expected to be out for 10-14 days after recently undergoing nose surgery, Blake Murphy of The Athletic reports.
Goran Dragic, PGOut moreDragic (personal) remains out for Monday’s game in Miami, Blake Murphy of The Athletic reports.

Chicago Bulls Results, Lineups & Injuries

Previous Results

@ Thunder W 111-110
@ Magic L 114-95
@ Bucks L 94-90
vs Cavaliers W 117-104
@ Grizzlies L 119-106

Probable Lineup

PF: DeMar DeRozan, T. Brown Jr., A. McKinnie, M. Hill, T. Cook
SF: J. Green
C: N. Vucevic, T. Bradley, M. Simonovic
PG: A. Dosunmu, C. White
SG: Z. LaVine, M. Thomas

Injuries

Derrick Jones Jr., SFOut moreJones (knee) fractured his right index finger and is out 6-to-8 weeks, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports.
Tyler Cook, FDay-To-Day moreCook (eye) is questionable for Wednesday’s contest against the Raptors.
Nikola Vucevic, CDay-To-Day moreVucevic is probable for Wednesday’s matchup against the Raptors due to a left patella contusion.
Lonzo Ball, PGOut moreBulls head coach Billy Donovan confirmed Monday that Ball will undergo surgery later this week to repair the small meniscus tear in his left knee, Cody Westerlund of 670TheScore.com reports.
Alex Caruso, SGOut moreBulls head coach Billy Donovan said Caruso will undergo surgery Monday to address his fractured right wrist, Cody Westerlund of 670TheScore.com reports.
Patrick Williams, PFOut moreWilliams (wrist) will undergo surgery to repair torn ligaments in his left wrist from an injury sustained during Thursday’s matchup with the Knicks and is expected to miss four-to-six months.

Betting Lines

tor chi
+4 Spread -4.0
+145 Money Line -170
Over/Under
219.0

 

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