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Bulls Raptors play-in LIVE OPEN THREAD
who can predict with these two bleh teams? not me, but I'll try anyway
I certainly broke this game down in more evidence-based detail earlier today.
What this post is, aside from being a place for people to comment in-game, is ‘vibes’.
Zach LaVine made a lot of waves when he said after the loss to the Hawks that “they wanted it more than us”. This would indeed be damning to say a similarly matched team (without their star ball dominant guard) had more motivation even though you were trying to chase them in the standings.
But it’s more likely that Zach simply wrong about his assessment of that game, and he, AK, and many ‘observers’ are also wrong when they say the Bulls struggles against bad teams and meager success against very good teams are a question of subjective effort. The Bulls just aren’t that good. If they were “more consistent”, they’d be good. If they could beat more bad teams, they’d be good.
The Raptors aren’t that good either! But it seems like they operate their franchise with entirely different standards. Both teams have disappointed relative to expectations, but the Raptors more aggressively shopped their players midseason and made a more aggressive addition. The Bulls had apparently no thinking of selling or even doing a significant shake-up.
The Toronto Raptors are no longer my old nemesis ‘Tortrashto Trashtors”, who were so unserious that they’d lose every game to Bulls teams who’d literally just have Jimmy Butler. They have won a title this century, and their title-winning coach spent much of the stretch run expressing doubt he’ll be kept around or even want to stay. The Chicago Bulls simply want to make the playoffs (likely will try to get away with calling this game playoffs-ish), and their coach received a secret contract extension after one playoff appearance. I think the fans also follow this organizational lead when it comes to standards, and that diminishes some of their home court advantage tonight.
This is all to say that I think motivation and effort is on the Bulls side tonight. The Raptors have Finals Fred, the Bulls have Play-in Pat. As unambitious as it may be, this game is what the Bulls are built for.
But like I said earlier in response to LaVine’s comments, winning or losing a game may not be about effort. If the Bulls try really hard but still turn the ball over and brick open threes, they’ll lose. It’d be nice if LaVine has a great night in what is somehow the biggest game of his career, but if he doesn’t I won’t say it’s because he didn’t want it more. He, like the Bulls, just aren’t at that level.
But they can be for a night. And I think they will! Or that it’s more likely to happen than not. In a weird situation between to bleh teams, that’s as much confidence as one can have.
Enjoy, it’s technically the postseason.
And COMMENT! (honestly now, both SBNation and Twitter is an awful experience, should do so here)
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