The Bulls are one of the most injury-ravaged teams in the Association but that doesn’t matter. Tom Thibodeau’s group constantly punch above their weight and it would be foolish to expect anything less tonight.
Oh, and do you want to know just how banged up the Bulls are? Well, they signed former Raptor D.J. Augustin yesterday who was averaging just over 8 minutes per game for the Raptors earlier this season. Augustin was a -12 in 12 minutes of action last night, scoring no points.
Here are the three keys to a Raptors' win.
1) Focus on scoring: The Bulls have trouble scoring the basketball. Derrick Rose being out indefinitely huts them in this aspect, yes, but they are also missing two key offensive weapons from last year’s team. Watching Marco Belineli and Nate Robinson score for fun with their new teams must be hard. The pair was vital last year in helping the Bulls get to the second round of the playoffs and their offensive firepower is sorely missed in the Windy City.
2) Wings: Luol Deng is still a bit banged up and Mike Dunleavy is no Jimmy Butler on the defensive end. Butler returned to action last night but looked a bit off the pace. DeMar DeRozan and Terrence Ross combined for over 50 points in last night’s win against the 76ers. They both seem to have improved their decision making this season with DeRozan making considerable progress. He no longer seems to force shots early in a shot clock and genuinely seems to be waiting for the best opportunities to present themselves. Dunleavy should stand no chance of keeping up with the new and improved DeRozan.
3) Noah’s arc: Joakim Noah was a monster against the Bucks last night. The former Florida star went off for 21 points, 18 rebounds, five helpers, three blocks and even had time to get three steals. Jonas Valanciunas will have his hands full and it will take a team effort to box out Noah when shots go up; he’s one of the best around at getting offensive boards.