Toronto at Chicago Odds, Expert Pick & TV Info
The Toronto Raptors have been better than the Chicago Bulls the past couple of years, yet for some reason the Dinosaurs just can’t beat Chicago as they have lost 10 straight in the series. Will that change on Tuesday night in the Windy City? The opening NBA spread is TBA until it’s determined whether the two best Bulls players will be able to go due to injury.
Toronto at Chicago Odds, Expert Pick & TV Info
When: Tuesday, Feb. 14, 8 PM ET
Where: United Center, Chicago
TV: NBA League Pass
Radio: Toronto / Chicago
Opening NBA Lines: TBA
Why Bet On Toronto?
The Raptors are on a two-game losing streak after being upset 102-101 at home to Detroit on Sunday. Receiving the ball from Ish Smith with 13.2 seconds remaining, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope drilled just his second 3-pointer of the night to cap a 16-point fourth-quarter comeback. Raptors All-Star DeMar DeRozan go the ball on the final possession and had a 17-foot shot to win the game, but could only hit the rim with 0.9 seconds left.
DeRozan finished with a game-high 26 points, while Jonas Valanciunas had 17 points and nine rebounds, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Raptors from losing for the 10th time in their last 14 games. DeMarre Carroll stayed hot on Sunday, hitting 6-of- 9 shots with two 3-pointers to finish with 15 points, three assists, two rebounds, one steal and one turnover in 36 minutes. Carroll got off to a brutal start this season but he seems to have turned the corner in his past four games, averaging 14.5 points on combined 22-of- 35 shooting (62.9 percent), with 5.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 steals.
Forward Patrick Patterson (left knee) missed his fourth straight game and 14th of the team’s last 23. The Raptors are 7-7 without him. Jakob Poeltl made his third career start in his place. Jared Sullinger was a healthy DNP-CD vs. the Pistons. Pascal Siakam did not play either. Siakam was displaced by another rookie, Jakob Poeltl. Toronto has played one game this season (Jan. 29 vs. Orlando) with all 15 players available.
DeRozan has scored 30+ points in a career-high 22 games this season and ranks second in franchise history with 70 career 30-point games, trailing only Vince Carter (91). Since DeRozan joined the Raptors in 2009 -10, only six other players have recorded multiple 30-point games — Kyle Lowry (26), Andrea Bargnani (15), Rudy Gay (4), Jonas Valanciunas (2), Lou Williams (2) and Jerryd Bayless (2).
Why Bet On Chicago?
The Bulls have lost 3 straight games, all by 15+ points, for the first time since doing so in 4 straight games in November of 2009. That is the only time in franchise history they have done it 4 times in a row. On Sunday, the short-handed Bulls were crushed at Minnesota 117-89 to finish a six-game road trip at 2-4. Doug McDermott scored 16 points and made four 3-pointers for the Bulls, who were missing Jimmy Butler, Dwyane Wade, Nikola Mirotic and Paul Zipser with injuries. The Bulls turned the ball over 18 times, were outrebounded 46-35 and were outscored 56-38 in the paint. The Wolves led by 19 in the first quarter and 26 in the first half.
Bobby Portis scored 16 points off the bench. Michael Carter-Williams (12) and Robin Lopez (10) were the only other Bulls starters in double figures. Butler aggravated a bruised right heel on Friday night against Phoenix and it’s not clear if he will play here. Wade missed the game with a swollen right wrist, and X-rays showed no fractures. He probably won’t play again.
“It ain’t right. I can’t bend it either way,” Wade said. “If I feel like I need an MRI when I get back to the city, then I’ll do that, moreso the hand than the wrist, I think.”
Butler posted his 38th game this season with at least 20 points on Friday at Phoenix – that is already the most 20-point games he’s posted in a season in his career (previously 36 in 2015-16). The Bulls have allowed their opponents to make 10 or more 3-pointers in six of the last eight games. How have the Bulls been able to stay near the top of the league for defense this season (7th, 102.7 opponent ppg) while ranking in the bottom half in opponent field goal percentage (21st, .460)? Opponents do make a lot of field goals against Chicago (39.8, 22nd) – but not 3-pointers (9.0, 7th) and not free throws (14.0, 1st).
The Bulls’ 10-game winning streak against the Raptors is the longest since a 15-game run from Dec. 18, 2002 to Dec. 29, 2006. In the last meeting on Jan. 7, Butler exploded for 42 points and made 18 free throws in a 123-118 OT win. Chicago overcame a 19-point deficit. The Bulls pulled down 17 offensive boards and had 26 second-chance points.
Raptors win this game even if Butler and Wade return and I doubt they both do.