After finishing 10th in the Eastern Conference, the Bulls head to Toronto to take on the Raptors in a do-or-die battle
The Chicago Bulls wrapped up the season by finishing 40-42 and staying put at the 10th spot in the Eastern Conference. Unfortunately, the Bulls will have to win two road games to make the playoffs. The first road game comes Wednesday night in Toronto against a Raptors team that won the season series against the Bulls 2-1.
The Raptors are a tough matchup for the Bulls due to their size advantage and defensive techniques. In the final regular season meeting between the two teams, the Bulls struggled to grab rebounds against a bigger lineup. The Bulls were outrebounded 47-35, giving up multiple 2nd chance opportunities, which made a massive difference in the 4th quarter. DeMar DeRozan has averaged just 14 points per game this season against the Raptors because of their strategy to double-team DeRozan for the entire game following the tip-off. Expect Zach LaVine to see similar coverage as DeRozan in this game, with constant double teams hindering both players, requiring Nikola Vucevic and role players to setup up.
If LaVine and DeRozan make the right play out of their double teams, there will be an opportunity for Vucevic, Patrick Williams, and Coby White to step up. Vucevic has shot 58.5% this season against the Raptors and must be ready for the chance to be the leading scorer on the night. Coby White has been on a hot streak to end the season, providing a scoring boost for the Bulls off the bench. Patrick Williams needs to be ready to handle Siakam defensively, keeping him out of the scoring column as much as possible. Williams should be hustling to box out and secure as many rebounds as possible.
According to Billy Donovan, the Bulls have yet to decide whether Alex Caruso or Patrick Williams will get the start. Donovan also mentioned that the biggest challenge for the Bulls against the Raptors is the size advantage; due to this point, Williams should get the start. Patrick Williams would provide a more vital interior force for the Bulls against the bigger Raptors lineup. Should Caruso start, expect extended minutes for Williams.
With a victory, the Bulls would play the loser of the Heat vs. Hawks game on the road in a matchup that would determine the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference. With a loss, the Bulls would lose their lottery pick to the Orlando Magic unless it falls in the top 4.