Beating a team that’s in a slump might give you a sense of over confidence. A lot of people will look at this game and point to Jamario Moon’s various dunks, alley-oops, and steals. They’ll point to a lineup change that saw the Raptors shoot just below 55%, with balanced scoring from the bench and the starting lineup, and removed a questionable defender in Kapono. Nevertheless, when you’re playing a Bulls team that is so out of sync, so lost, so fractured, and just plain bad, it should be expected that you come out with a win.
The most interesting stats to me are that the Raptors didn’t play a single person above 30 minutes for this entire game. It’s not very often in this modern world of the NBA to see that anymore. However, if the Raptors do not shoot near their 50%+, we’d all be sitting here talking about the massive amount of turnovers and sloppy plays that made this game a lot closer than it had to be. So, surprisingly, Sam’s probably going to be talking to his guys about making the simple play rather than try and thread the needle for the difficult play. In addition, making an out-of-sync Bulls team shoot around 33% is not exactly a huge compliment. Some defensive rotations were sloppy and the Raptors often didn’t close out on shooters. If the Bulls were a better shooting team, it would have been detrimental to the Raptors.
The story, though, is all about Chicago. It’s a far fall from grace as Chicago has just become so stagnant and ineffective on both ends of the court. How Scott Skiles managed to take his team from hot tamale to frigid cold, is anyone’s guess, but there were signs last year already that the Bulls may have been heading towards huge difficulties. The final weeks of the regular season saw them unable to keep pace with the surging Heat, who in the end, overtook them on the final game of the season. In addition Chicago, in their final game of the regular season, were decimated by the Nets, which caused the Raptors to play New Jersey rather than the Wizards. However, it was in the playoffs that we saw Chicago’s true problems. An inability to score and defensive lapses inevitably led to Chicago’s demise at the hands of the Pistons. Chicago, unfortunately, did little in the off season to address these difficulties, hoping their rookies would be able to develop into effective contributors.
What’s abundantly clear is that the Bulls need some kind of change soon. Even though most people love that their team is a defensive stopper, and that they are a fairly quick team, there are still many questions as to their scoring proficiency. Granted, they had a slow start to begin the season last year, but there are some clear faults on this team that go beyond a lack of a low post scoring presence. In the end, the Raptors managed to pick apart a team that’s in disarray and yet, there are clearly a lot of areas where this team must work on in order to keep consistent and become the threat most of the Raptors nation knows they can be.
Next Game: Utah @ Toronto