I was incorrect on my last Raptors free pick as the Raptors (-11.5) held on for a 105-100 win at home versus the Timberwolves on Wednesday. I am now 26-28 in Raptors free picks. Tonight 41-27 Toronto Raptors travel to Chicago to square off with the 41-28 Bulls.
(41-27) Toronto Raptors @ (41-28) Chicago Bulls
Probable starting line-ups:
Toronto – PG – Kyle Lowry SG – DeMar DeRozan C – Jonas Valanciunas SF – Terrence Ross PF – Amir Johnson
Chicago – PG – Aaron Brooks SG – Tony Snell C – Joakim Noah SF – Mike Dunleavy PF – Pau Gasol
Toronto – PPG – DeMar DeRozan 19.0 RPG – Jonas Valanciunas 8.7 APG – Kyle Lowry 6.9
Chicago – PPG – Jimmy Butler 20.2 RPG – Pau Gasol 12.0 APG – Derrick Rose 5.0
Team Scoring: (with league ranking in parentheses)
Toronto – PF – 104.5 (4th) PA – 101.3 (23rd)
Chicago – PF – 100.8 (14th) PA – 98.8 (12th)
The Toronto Raptors have won 3 of their last 4 games. On Wednesday they held on for a 105-100 win at home versus Minnesota. Shooting guard DeMar DeRozan led the way with 21 points on 4 of 14 shooting in 39 minutes. He was 12 of 12 from the free throw line. He also had 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals. Center Jonas Valanciunas had a double-double with 15 points and 15 rebounds. He was 7 of 9 from the field in 24 minutes. Small forward Terrence Ross netted 15 points on 6 of 9 shooting in 29 minutes. Backup power forward Patrick Patterson contributed with 14 points on 5 of 9 shooting in 30 minutes. He also had 4 rebounds. Backup point guard Greivis Vasquez chipped in with 11 points on 4 of 10 shooting in 25 minutes. He was 3 of 6 from the 3 point line. The team shot 44.3% from the field, 41.4% from the 3 point line (12-29), and 85.2% from the free throw line (23-27). They were out-rebounded 45-39. The game was tied at 54 points apiece at halftime. Toronto is 18-15 on the road this season. After tonight they play 4 of their next 5 games at home. Their next game is Sunday at home versus the New York Knicks.
The Chicago Bulls have dropped 5 of their last 7 games. On Wednesday they scored a 103-86 home victory versus the Indiana Pacers. Rookie power forward led the team in scoring with 25 points on 8 of 15 shooting in 31 reserve minutes. He was 8 of 9 from the free throw line. He also had 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks. Small forward Mike Dunleavy netted 21 points on 7 of 14 shooting in 39 minutes. He was 5 of 8 from the 3 point line. He also had 5 rebounds. Power forward Pau Gasol contributed with a double-double as he scored 19 points and pulled down 12 rebounds. He was 7 of 13 from the field in 33 minutes. Small forward Tony Snell scored 14 points on 5 of 11 shooting in 40 minutes. He also had 8 rebounds. Point guard Aaron Brooks chipped in with 13 points on 3 of 10 shooting in 27 minutes. He was 7 of 7 from the foul line. The team shot 41.5% from the field, 41.7% from the 3 point line (10-24), and 89.3% from the free throw line (25-28). The Bulls dominated the glass as they out-rebounded the Pacers 52-38. They outscored their opposition 27-18 in the final quarter. Chicago is 21-14 at home this season. Tonight is the first game of a back to back. They are 11-6 in the 1st game of a back to back so far this season. Tomorrow night they play at the Detroit Pistons.
Chicago has won the first 2 meetings with Toronto this season. On November 13th the Bulls notched a 100-93 road win and on December 22nd the Bulls scored a 129-120 home victory versus the Raptors. After tonight the 2 teams play 1 more time this season, March 25th at Toronto.
The Raptors are 2 games behind the Cavaliers for the 2nd spot in the East and only a half game ahead of their opponent tonight for the 3rd spot. The Bulls still are missing 2 starters in Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler and one key bench contributor in Taj Gibson. For whatever reason the Bulls always bring the effort when they are short-handed. I like how they match-up against the Raptors even with a limited roster. Take the Bulls -1.5 (1.90) (Bet365)
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