There was perhaps no sentiment in Raptors history more succinctly summarized than Hedo Turkoglu's famous "Ball" interview. Tonight, it felt like the following tweet would've done Hedo proud and been all the recap you needed:
This game sucks.— Raptors HQ (@RaptorsHQ) March 21, 2015
But heck, why don't we relive this travesty of a Raptors performance anyway?
The Chicago Bulls absolutely bullied the Raptors tonight (that was no pun and this is no laughing matter).
The Bulls won the rebounding battle 47-36 and assisted on 32 of their 42 made field goals (compared to 20 dimes for the Raptors). They outshot Toronto 53.2 percent to 38.0, exposing (yet again) the fact that this Raptors defence is seemingly beyond repair and forcing us to admit that we're running out of pejorative adjectives to describe it.
The Bulls - who were without their star backcourt of Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler - got so much of what they wanted in the paint (outscoring the Raptors 54-26 in that area), that it looked like they were running layup lines most of the game. Meanwhile, Toronto panicked at every trap the Bulls threw at them, chucked up contested jumper after contested jumper, and failed to ever establish anything even remotely resembling a rhythm on offence.
Looking for silver linings? Well, DeMar DeRozan posted 27 points on 8-for-14 shooting from the field, 3-for-3 from long range, and 8-for-10 from the charity stripe, while adding seven rebounds, and three assists, and Patrick Patterson chipped in 17 points (on 7-for-11 shooting from the field, 3-for-5 from deep), five boards, and two steals off the bench as well.
Other positives? Well, no one died, so I suppose there's that.
On the other end, rookie Nikola Mirotic looked like a superstar, tying a career-high with 29 points off the bench, to go with 11 rebounds, and four blocked shots. The rest of the Bulls frontcourt feasted on the weak defence of the Raptors as well, as the starting duo of Joakim Noah (eight points, 10 rebounds, and 14 assists) and Pau Gasol (11 points, nine rebounds, six assists) flirted with matching triple-doubles and Mike Dunleavy scored 21 points.
Our frontcourt? Well...
When Amir Johnson has more 3-point attempts than Valanciunas has from the field after 30+ minutes, you're probably not in a position to win.— Russell Peddle (@rustypedalbike) March 21, 2015
For the record, Amir Johnson went 1-for-2 from downtown and Jonas Valanciunas went 0-for-1 from the field. Moving on.
It's worth noting that the Raptors were without Kyle Lowry, but it doesn't change the fact that they fell to fourth in the Eastern Conference with the loss, while also losing the season series to the Bulls. If the two teams finish with the same record at the end of the season, Chicago is now guaranteed the higher seed of the two. The Raptors winning three of their last four coming into this game felt like a step forward, but this blowout felt unmistakably like two steps back.
What were your thoughts on the game? Are hopes of a defensive turnaround simply naive at this point? Can this team still win 50 games by simply outscoring opponents or has that ship sailed? Do you trust them to accomplish anything at all in the playoffs or will you heed our editor's advice?
pro tip: bet against the raptors in round one.— alex (@steven_lebron) March 21, 2015
Discuss in the comment section.
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