NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, April 12th
(All times Eastern)
Chicago Bulls (43-35) at Toronto Raptors (30-48), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Chicago Bulls aim to keep their hold on the Eastern
Conference's fifth seed when they head north of the border in an attempt to
avoid a second loss to the lottery-bound Toronto Raptors this week.
Back on Tuesday in Chicago, the Raptors DeMar DeRozan netted 20 points and
Rudy Gay added 19 and six rebounds as Toronto escaped the Second City with a
101-98 win over the short-handed Bulls.
Kyle Lowry finished with 13 points and 10 assists for the Raptors, who snapped
a five-game skid against Chicago and have won three of their last four games
"The guys came up and showed some fight," Raptors head coach Dwane Casey said.
Jimmy Butler registered 28 points and seven boards for Chicago, which played
without stalwarts Joakim Noah, Luol Deng and Taj Gibson. The Bulls have also
been without former MVP Derrick Rose as he continues to rehab from ACL injury
suffered in last season's playoffs against Philadelphia
Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau didn't use that as a crutch, however.
"We have to be a lot tougher mentally," the tough-minded mentor said.
Chicago rebounded on Thursday when Nate Robinson scored a season-high 35
points and nailed five 3-pointers to lead six Bulls players in double figures
as Chicago ended the New York Knicks' 13-game winning streak with a 118-111
overtime victory on Thursday at the Madhouse on Madison.
Jimmy Butler and Carlos Boozer each recorded double-doubles with 22 points and
14 rebounds and 13 points and 15 boards, respectively, for the Bulls, who
became the second team to snap two 13-plus game winning streaks in the same
season (The Phoenix Suns also did it in 1990-91).
Chicago also ended the Miami Heat's impressive 27-game win streak on March 27.
"The switch went on and he took the game over," Boozer said of Robinson's
Deng, who had missed the previous two games due to injury, supplied 16 points
and eight rebounds, while Richard Hamilton and Kirk Hinrich had 14 and 11
points, respectively, in the victory.
On the injury front Toronto big man Jonas Valanciunas left the game in Chicago
with a neck injury after colliding with Gay in the waning seconds but was able
to practice Thursday although he is doubtful for tonight's contest.
For Chicago, Noah (plantar fasciitis in right foot) and Gibson (sprained left
knee) will likely continue to sit with the postseason in mind.
The Bulls are currently one-half game ahead of Atlanta for the No. 5 seed in
the East with just four games to play in the regular season.
Chicago has won eight of 10 overall against the Dinos and four of five north
of the border.
04/12 10:41:18 ET