Start time: 8:00 PM ET
Probable starting lineups
Toronto: Jose Calderon, DeMar DeRozan, Rasual Butler, Ed Davis, Amir Johnson
Chicago: Derrick Rose, Ronnie Brewer, Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah
Toronto: Andrea Bargnani will be a game-time decision, Jerryd Bayless is out.
Chicago: Rip Hamilton will be a game-time decision, C.J. Watson is out.
I don’t think there’s a great need to break this game down. The Bulls are the best team in the Eastern Conference right now while the Raptors — without Andrea Bargnani in the lineup — are one of the worst. Chicago has a clear advantage at every single starting position except for shooting guard, and their bench is so far superior to Toronto’s that it’s ludicrous to even compare them. If the Raptors keep the losing margin to a single digit, I would count that as a moral victory.
The Bulls are 4-0 at home this season, their opponents have averaged 67.5 points in those games and the Bulls’ average margin of victory at home this season is 20 points. They’ve also won 30 of their last 32 regular season home games. I could keep listing stats that indicate the impossibility of the Raptors competing in this contest, but you’ll probably be watching Patriots-Broncos after the second quarter, anyway. I’m writing the recap for this game so I have to watch the whole thing. Lucky me.
- Not many people outside of Chicago are talking about it, but Rose has evolved into much more of a pure point guard this season. His assists per game have increased from 7.7 to 8.5 since last season, while his field goal attempts per game have dropped from 19.7 to 16.0. His continual improvement is truly a joy to behold, and he’s still only 23 years old.
- If you’re actually masochistic enough to watch most of this game, prepare yourself for the likelihood of getting punk’d by Kyle Korver. He’s shooting over 50 percent from long range so far this season and I expect to see a lot of drives-and-dishes from Rose to Korver tonight.
- I’m not sure if this is funny, but it’s certainly weird. Here’s Jimmy Fallon as “Tebowie”: