Game Thread #19: Bulls vs. Toronto Raptors

[Thanks to prolific BlogABull commenter PaxsonJackson for tonight's preview. -Matt]

The Atlantic Division is a cure-all for any team. Perhaps early, lengthy road trips should be scheduled entirely on the East Coast in the future?

From the STATS Preview:

Chicago (9-9) has not lost to the Raptors (7-11) since a 103-89 defeat on Dec. 6, 2002. That was Toronto's 16th straight win in the series, but now the Bulls have won the last 13 meetings.

The Bulls have really dominated the series over the past two seasons, winning the seven meetings by an average of 12.2 points while outrebounding the Raptors by an 11.9 average.

Exclude that recent dominance and the Bulls' current 6 game winning streak still appears to be safe as the Raptors are a terrible road team at 2-9 away from the 'To. That's not to say the Raptors aren't dangerous. Chris Bosh should challenge the small Bulls frontcourt, and Andrea Bargnani has been mostly overlooked by the standard hype-machines. He's a natural perimeter scorer with a very fluid and quick shot, as well as being an astounding 213 CM tall. Bargnani's current and future play is a big reason this past draft may be viewed quite differently as a strong class in a few years.

In Skiles' Thursday interview on ESPN 1000 (sorry, no podcast) he mentioned the Bulls are looking to sacrifice defensive FG% to create turnovers. Bulls' opponents are averaging 18.7 TO's a game, good for #2 in the NBA. Toronto is surpsingly effective at protecting the ball, averaging only 13 TO's a game, good for second in the NBA in the opposite category.

I would like to see Veektor replace Malik Allen in the lineup tonight; why not fight fire with fire and load up on international options versus Jerry  Colangelo's Team World? Which reminds me, a warning: If there has ever been a night to mute the television, it's tonight. I'm not sure I (or you, captive preview reader) can stand to hear Red, Tom, and Stace twist, torture, and defile the polysyllabic names on the backs of Raptor jerseys, then congratulate eachother for the attempt. It's going to be a rough one.

Blogging with the Enemy: Raptorblog

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