Game No. 47: Bulls 94, Raptors 82
Joseph was unavailable to write this recap tonight and he’ll be in New York (lucky bastard) on Friday and Saturday so I’m going to be doing these next three recaps, against my will and better judgement. My lack of giving a crap about this particular Raptors season should be fairly evident by this point, but let me crystallize it for you. The only time I got fired up about anything related to the Raptors this season was when Jerryd Bayless put together a nice string of games while Jose Calderon was injured. Now Bayless is injured and there’s nobody else on this team that I particularly enjoy watching at the moment.
Full disclosure: I didn’t even get a chance to start recording this game on my PVR until four minutes into the second quarter when the Bulls were leading 32-31. I was delayed getting home tonight because I had to rectify a bonehead move from this past weekend — I put my kids’ iPad on top of my car on Sunday and then drove away. It might be one of the five dumbest things I’ve ever done, but I’m not really sure about that at this point in my life. Anyway, I met up with somebody in the Toys R Us parking lot next to Sherway Gardens Mall after work tonight so I could buy her old iPad. She brought a couple of dudes with her for protection and I handed her the money in an envelope. It might be the closest thing to a drug deal I’ll ever participate in.
I had some thoughts. Here are six of them.
1. Let’s not give the Raptors too much credit for hanging with the Bulls for three quarters. The Bulls didn’t have Derrick Rose and they didn’t play particularly well in the action I watched before the fourth quarter.
2. Carlos Boozer really is the turd in the Bulls’ punch bowl this season, isn’t he? Do any Bulls fans think he’s a better overall basketball player than Taj Gibson, at this point? Boozer’s typically a more polished scorer, but they’re pretty much on the same level as rebounders and Gibson is a far superior defender. I wonder if Boozer thinks it’s weird that he’s the highest-paid player on the team with the best record in the NBA, but he averages fewer than 30 minutes per game.
3. The Bulls outscored the Raptors 32-13 in the fourth quarter, which was comically predictable. The thing about a great, well-coached team like the Bulls is that they know there’s no need to panic when they enter the fourth trailing a team like the Raptors by seven points. The Bulls have another gear they can shift into in those situations, and the Raptors don’t. In this particular instance, John Lucas matched the Raptors’ entire offensive output while scoring all 13 of his points in the fourth quarter. This guy is emerging out of nowhere at 29 years old as a guy who might prove to be the Bulls’ “Jason Terry knockoff” in a title run this season. Crazy.
4. I’m sure Matt Devlin has mentioned it a bunch of times before and I just didn’t notice before tonight, but it turns out there’s a “Raptors Rewards” credit card where you can redeem points for tickets, jerseys and stuff. Could Raptors Rewards members pool their points to get Deron Williams to sign with the team? I think that’s a fair question.
5. The Andrea Bargnani situation really isn’t worth commenting on. This appears to be turning into another write-off season for him. I’m not remotely interested in debating people about him anymore. Maybe he’ll come back next season and perform like he did in the 13 games before his month-and-a-half layoff, but I’m not holding my breath.
6. Linas Kleiza was the only Raptor who actually looked kinda badass in the camo uniform. I know if I was a solider at war and I saw a buff six-foot-eight bearded Lithuanian dude like him suddenly appear in the jungle, I’d probably poop my pants.
Raptors Player of the Game: Nobody. It’s not that they all sucked, but nobody stood out. Yeah, DeRozan had 23 points but it took him 25 shots to get them and he had zero assists.
Bulls Player of the Game: John Lucas — 17 Min, 13 Pts, 5-11 FG, 2-4 3Pt, 1-2 FT, 2 Reb, 4 Ast