Wednesday, May 31, 2023

One Stop Shop: Everything You Need To Know Ahead Of Bulls’ Play-In Game

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The Bulls’ road ahead has been set, and while they’ll attempt to make NBA history as the first 10th-seeded team to ever win a game in the Play-In Tournament, things look more optimistic than expected. Here’s where you can find game time, where to watch, what to expect from a lineup standpoint, injuries, and where the winner and loser of this matchup head next. Let’s get into it.



Where: ESPN Network, played in Toronto

This 9th vs. 10th Eastern Conference matchup will be the third of four Play-In games to be played, two on Tuesday (the 7th vs. 8th games) and the two 9th vs. 10th matchups on Wednesday. The two Tuesday contests will be aired on TNT, while the two Wednesday showdowns will be on ESPN. The Chicago Bulls will visit the Toronto Raptors, where they are 0-2 thus far this season.

When: 6:00 PM CST on Wednesday, April 12th

A bit over 48 hours away, the Bulls’ season will be over with a loss. The Bulls will visit coming in with a record of 40-42, including an 18-23 road record. The Raptors own a 41-41 overall record, with an impressive 24-17 standing at home. They also own the overall season series 2-1 over Chicago.

TEAMRANKINGS & ESPN Analytics Predictions: TOR -5.5 , O/U 214.5 , 59.3% Raptors

Team Rankings favors the Toronto Raptors by 5.5 points, and most betting agencies have the Raptors at a similar spread. The total points line is at 214.5 points, which was only reached once during their three regular-season meetings. ESPN Analytics gives the Raptors a 59.3% chance of winning, an advanced analytic statistic mainly derived from efficiency ratings and team average statistics.

Injuries: Lonzo Ball (CHI), Otto Porter Jr. (TOR)

The only two players that will likely be sidelined for this win-or-go-home game are two who have been ruled out for months, both undergoing season-ending surgery in the past four months. Many players for both sides were rested over their final few games, but both expect the entirety of their roster to be rested and available for Wednesday’s matchup.

Bulls’ Mindset: Get DeRozan involved & control the glass

Find more detailed information on what Chicago needs to do to pull off the upset here, as it dives into the things they’ll need to fix from their previous matchups with Toronto and highlights key statistics the Bulls will need to have an advantage in. DeMar DeRozan’s 14 points per game during their regular season trio of games and losing the offensive rebound battle by 21 boards over their two losses are the two major focuses for the Bulls headed into this one.

Chicago’s Starting Five: Beverley, Caruso, LaVine, DeRozan, Vucevic

This is not made official, but expect the same starting lineup as the Bulls have had since the All-Star break acquisition of Patrick Beverley. Head coach Billy Donovan recently spoke on the prospect of starting Patrick Williams to match the monstrous size difference in favor of Toronto but also referenced the net rating differences between when Caruso is the starting five rather than Williams. Caruso and the other four above boast a net rating of +14.7 as a unit, while that same unit with Williams in place of Caruso has an abysmal -31.6 net rating. Coby White has recently surged as a playmaking and scoring sparkplug off the bench; starting him in place of the defensive specialist Patrick Beverley could be a wild card move to be mindful of.

Tale Of The Tape: Defensive battle on the way

Both teams are in the top ten in defensive rating and bottom ten in three-point shooting. Expect a bruising, free-throw-heavy, low-scoring affair as these two meet for the fourth time this year.

Where To Next: Win or go home

Simple as that, the winner will visit the loser of the Atlanta Hawks and Miami Heat matchup taking place on Tuesday, for the final spot in the NBA Playoffs. The winner of the Hawks and Heat will earn the seventh seed and face the Boston Celtics in the first round, while the last team that advances from the Eastern Conference Play-In Tournament will see the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round. The loser heads home empty handed, which for the Chicago Bulls could trigger an overhaul of an offseason after the disappointment that this season resulted in.

Time to muster up as much hope and optimism as Bulls nation has left to give and bring it Wednesday night for what could be the final game of this miserable 2022-23′ season.

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Apr 12, 2023 3:14 am

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Kalliope Leighton
Kalliope Leighton
Apr 11, 2023 11:54 am

. If Burger’s bat continues to be above average, they might opt to keep him over Gonzalez. While Gonzalez provides much more in terms of defensive ability and versatility, the White Sox have shown with their handling of Garcia, that if you cannot hit then there is no spot for you on the team. The fact that both Sheets and Alberto can play outfield could cover for the loss if they decided to send Romy down. While I believe there is still hope for Romy, he will compete against Sosa and Burger for one of the last roster spots once… Read more »

Kalliope Leighton
Kalliope Leighton
Apr 11, 2023 11:50 am

slashing .448/.556/.828 with two home runs, eight RBIs, and more walks than strikeouts. The White Sox are very high on Sosa’s potential. He entered Spring Training with a chance to compete for the starting job at second base before the team signed Elvis Andrus. He is currently listed as the eighth-ranked prospect in the White Sox farm system.

The White Sox signed him as a 16-year-old out of Venezuela for $325,000. Since then, he has shot through their minor league system.

Kalliope Leighton
Kalliope Leighton
Apr 11, 2023 11:50 am

Sosa is suddenly the new backup infielder as the White Sox resources are thinning. Luckily the 23-year-old infielder is playing with a ton of confidence at the moment. He started the Triple-A season white hot, slashing .448/.556/.828 with two home runs, eight RBIs, and more walks than strikeouts. The White Sox are very high on Sosa’s potential. He entered Spring Training with a chance to compete for the starting job at second base before the team signed Elvis Andrus. He is currently listed as the eighth-ranked prospect in the White Sox farm system. The White Sox signed him as a… Read more »

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