Open Game Thread / Game Preview #8: Bulls vs. Raptors

[Thanks to YaoPau for today's game preview -ed.]

Do you Noah good rebounder? I do.


Maybe we should start calling it Cantada, because they can't rebound.


Bosh does well at 11reb per 36, then it's Bargnani's 6.8, Turkoglu's 4.5, Jack's 3.0, Calderon's 2.8. When Taj Gibson would be your team's 2nd best rebounder, you better be awesome at everything else.

They are offensively: 1st in O-Rating so far. Their .591 TS% is ridiculous, and they're top-3 in threes per game, free throws per game, and fewest turnovers.  Lots of shooters, good passers, Turkoglu's been a nice fit.

Defensively, they're dead last. They ranked 22nd last year, and since lost Shawn Marion, Jamario Moon, Jermaine O'Neal and Anthony Parker, so it's likely not a fluke. They're bottom-3 in threes per game allowed, free throws per game allowed, and turnovers forced. It's like their defense is allowing it's own offensive gameplan. Weird team. Really weird.

Not surprisingly, they're 3-4 with a good win over Cleveland and a bad loss to Memphis. With all the 3pt shots taken in Raptors games and their overall averageness, game to game fluctuation will happen. Flip a coin for who wins tonight, especially with the Bulls in Toronto.

But our blueprint to victory involves controlling the glass. The Bulls are 6th in OREB%+DREB% at 1.034, while the Raptors are 27th at .957, and Reggie Evans is still out with a foot sprain.  I get worried whenever two evenly matched teams play and one has an enormous advantage in one factor - it's hard to match that advantage in reality.  But if we do, and the Raptors don't shoot lights out from 3, we should have this in the bag.

Few questions:

(1) Will the Bulls take advantage of Toronto's inability to guard the 3 and the paint?  (That involves taking shots in those two locations.)

(2) When Bargnani pulls Taj/Joakim away from the basket, will Deng help keep Bosh off the boards?  SFs have averaged almost 9rpg against Toronto this year, and Deng could be in line for a big boxscore.

(3) Is Rose healthy enough to penetrate consistently? With Calderon on him and Bargnani guarding the paint, this is the game to do it.

6pm start time on WCIU.

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