Gameday: Bulls vs Raptors (Play-In Tournament), April 12

Win or go home. Miami's waiting for the winner on Friday.

Before you do anything, check out the EXTENSIVE breakdown of this matchup by Louis from yesterday.

Now that Atlanta is the seven seed after winning in Miami last night, we know the Raptors Play-In route to make the playoffs. The script writers couldn’t have done any better.

Toronto and Chicago enter this win or go home matchup in similar situations. Both teams have had disappointing regular seasons after possibly overachieving last year, and are making their Play-In debuts. Some fans were frustrated with both teams’ trade deadline: with the Raptors not being sellers, and the Bulls doing absolutely nothing. And both teams will have an uncertain offseason, regardless of how long their postseasons last.

The winner goes to Miami for Friday. Do the Raptors, or DeRozan meet up with Kyle Lowry? Top seeded Milwaukee (and Goran Dragic since we’re doing the whole revisiting former Raptors theme) is waiting in the wings.

Toronto won the season series 2-1.

Bulls scope (40-42, 10th in East | Offensive rating: 24th | Defensive rating: 5th)

Let’s be real, DeMar DeRozan can’t get revenge that would equate being traded away from a eventual champion a year later. However, the next best thing Deebo can do is send his former team home. Judging from his Godfather post on Instagram, that dish best served cold is on his mind.

In order for DeMar to have an impactful revenge game, he’s going to have to figure out Nick Nurse’s hellbent schemes that limited him to 14 points on only 8.6 shot attempts in three regular season games vs the Raptors this season. O.G. Anunoby (all-defence, right?!?!) is expected to be on him a ton. DeRozan was also trapped into oblivion, which opened the door for Zach LaVine to score 30 points in Chicago’s lone win. We saw Nurse go as far as to successfully challenge DeRozan’s first drawn foul 90 seconds into a game.

Regardless of what DeRozan does, this game won’t change his Mount Rushmore reputation in Toronto.

Raptors scope (41-41, 9th in East | Offensive rating: 11th | Defensive rating: 12th)

Toronto won six of its last nine games to secure homecourt advantage here. The Raptors beat the opponents they were supposed to, and had alarming performances against contenders such as Philly and Boston. Overall the Raps enter this game with their regular lineup, something that was rarely seen all season. Milwaukee’s contest on Sunday was meaningless except for maybe Gary Trent Jr, who shook some rust off with 23 points.

It’s going to be a beautiful day (high of 24 degrees and sunny) in Toronto. Jurassic Park will be back, and probably full regardless of this season’s disappointments (plural).

Player to Watch: We saw the best and worst of Fred VanVleet in the three regular season contests against the Bulls. Rockford’s finest had 30 points and 11 assists in the first November matchup, followed by 27 points a day later in the home and home series. VanVleet’s shooting was off (1-11) in the last game on February, but dished out nine helpers in a Raptors win. Much of the Raptors success relies on Fred’s floor spacing.

Game Info

Tip-Off: 7pm EDT | TV: TSN 1/3/4/5/4K, ESPN | Radio: TSN Radio 1050

Bulls Lineup

Clean injury report outside of Lonzo Ball’s unfortunate knee situation; he hasn’t played all season.

PG: Patrick Beverley, Ayo Dosunmu, Carlik Jones

SG: Alex Caruso, Coby White

SF: Zach LaVine, Derrick Jones Jr, Javonte Green, Dalen Terry

PF: DeMar DeRozan, Patrick Williams, Terry Taylor

C: Nikola Vucevic, Andre Drummond, Marko Simonovic

Raptors Lineup

Clean injury report outside of Otto Porter Jr. (foot), out for season. Jeff Dowtin Jr. (no contract conversion) is unavailable.

PG: Fred VanVleet, Malachi Flynn, Dalano Banton

SG: O.G. Anunoby, Gary Trent Jr, Will Barton

SF: Scottie Barnes, Ron Harper Jr, Joe Wieskamp

PF: Pascal Siakam, Chris Boucher, Thaddeus Young

C: Jakob Poeltl, Precious Achiuwa, Christian Koloko

The Line

The Raptors are favoured by 5.5 points? That might be too much. Moneyline: Bulls +176, Raptors -210. Over/Under is 213.5.

1 thought on “Gameday: Bulls vs Raptors (Play-In Tournament), April 12”

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