Toronto Raptors vs. Chicago Bulls: Preview, Analysis and Predictions

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Toronto Raptors vs. Chicago Bulls: Preview, Analysis and Predictions
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sport

With playoff seeding on the line, the Chicago Bulls will attempt to get back on track against the Toronto Raptors.

The Bulls are coming off arguably their worst loss of the season, against the Detroit Pistons. The struggling Detroit Pistons took advantage of the absence of Luol Deng and beat Chicago 99-85. This was the first time Detroit won a game in this series in 19 tries.

Chicago will now enter its matchup against Toronto in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, but could realistically finish anywhere from fourth to seventh.

Meanwhile, the Raptors have won two of their last three games and will not roll over despite having already been eliminated from playoff contention.

Who wins?

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Make sure to tune in to what should be a highly contested battle between two talented teams. 

 

When: Tuesday, April 9, at 8 p.m. ET

Where: United Center, Chicago

Watch: CSCP

 

Injuries (via USA Today)

Raptors

Andrea Bargnani (Elbow) Out

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

 

Bulls

Luol Deng (Hip) Questionable

Derrick Rose (Knee) Questionable

Taj Gibson (Knee) Out

Richard Hamilton (Back) Out

 

Raptors Player to Watch: Rudy Gay

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Rudy Gay has had quite an interesting season. He started the year with the Memphis Grizzlies and was the leading scorer on a playoff contender. However, he was traded to the Raptors in the middle of the year.

Since then, he is leading the team with an impressive 19.1 points per game, but he has been wildly inconsistent. 

In his last eight games, Gay has as many single-digit performances as 20-plus-point days (three each). Against the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday, the wing totaled only four points on 1-for-10 shooting.

He has a lot of talent, but the Bulls will likely hope for the bad version of Gay in this matchup.

 

Bulls Player to Watch: Carlos Boozer

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Spor

While the rest of the team bounces in and out of the lineup, Carlos Boozer has been a rock for the Bulls this season.

He leads the team with 73 starts, and he has picked up his play recently as the games become increasingly more important. In four games in April, he is averaging 20.3 points and 12.3 rebounds.

If Luol Deng is unable to play, scoring will truly be at a premium. The power forward will need to pick up the slack and be a primary option for the Bulls.

Toronto does not exactly have the toughest frontcourt in the league, so Boozer must take advantage of this and have a huge game.

 

Key Matchup: DeMar DeRozan vs. Nate Robinson

USA TODAY Sports

While these two guards might not match up on the court due to the height difference of almost one foot, DeMar DeRozan and Nate Robinson will certainly be battling in the box score.

Each player is known to light up the scoreboard and occasionally carry his team for stretches at a time.

DeRozan can get himself into the lane and finish at the rim as well as almost anyone in the league. He is currently averaging a career high 17.6 points per game this season.

On the other side, Robinson uses his quickness and shooting ability to get points in a hurry. He has scored in double figures in each of the past eight games for the Bulls.

Whoever is able to make more shots will likely help his team win the game. 

 

Prediction: Bulls 92, Raptors 87

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sport

No matter what happens to the starting lineup, the Bulls will continue to have one of the toughest defenses in the NBA. This will help them win games even when the offense struggles.

That being said, Boozer should be able to continue his recent hot streak against a squad that does not have much hope in defending him.

Toronto will fight hard, but there is simply too much on the line for Chicago to lose this one.

 

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