NBA

Wed, Feb 19, 2014 - 7:00 PM ET
Game Preview
 

Bulls-Raptors Preview

Share This Story

   
 

Joakim Noah and the Chicago Bulls emerge from the All-Star break trying to pick up where they left off.

The Toronto Raptors already have.

Noah and the Bulls are looking for another strong defensive effort in order to continue their recent surge and beat the Raptors on the road again Wednesday night.

Chicago (27-25) has won three in a row and four of five after coasting to a 92-76 home win over Brooklyn on Thursday. That winning streak has been spurred by superb defensive play, as the Bulls yielded an average of 82.3 points - 10.0 better than their season mark which ranks second in the NBA.

They allow opponents to shoot 43.4 percent, also among the best in the league. That's a big reason why the Bulls are the only non-division leader above .500 in the East and fourth in the conference standings.

"There's definitely a lot of basketball left," Noah said. "We're just taking it game by game. There's 30 games left. I think we entered the break pretty well. We're playing good basketball right now. It's not time to exhale. We just have to keep pushing, and then the fun starts."

Noah had a bit of fun Sunday, scoring eight points with five rebounds and five assists to help the East to a 163-155 win in the All-Star game. The other members of the Bulls used the time off to rest.

"The rest of us got a chance to recover, let our body heal a little bit and get ready for the second-half stretch," forward Carlos Boozer said. "Get ready for the playoffs.

"For us to get home court would be great, and as high as we can get."

Having a healthy Boozer would surely help. The team leader with an average of 14.8 points, Boozer missed three games with a sore calf but returned Thursday to score 15 with 10 rebounds.

Noah is averaging 17.7 points and 14.0 boards while shooting 57.1 percent over the past three games. He wasn't nearly that effective on the offensive end against the Raptors (29-24) on Dec. 31, missing 8 of 10 from the floor while finishing with seven points and 16 rebounds in an 85-79 home loss.

He had 18 points and nine boards in a 96-80 win at Toronto on Nov. 15, when the Bulls won there for the fifth time in seven tries.

The Atlantic Division-leading Raptors enter this matchup on a 7-3 run during which they've averaged 102.0 points - 105.0 over a three-game winning streak. They connected on a season-high 56.8 percent from the field en route to a 103-93 win Tuesday at Washington after returning from the break.

Kyle Lowry is putting together his own strong stretch, averaging 19.8 points and 9.2 assists in the last five games after posting 24 and 10 against the Wizards.

"I just was getting more looks, trying to attack a little more," Lowry said. "That first game out of the break is always tough and I didn't want to let that be an excuse for us to lose the game."

Lowry, though, was held to six points while missing 12 of 15 field goals in the most recent home meeting with the Bulls.

DeMar DeRozan, Toronto's lone All-Star, had 37 points in that matchup. He was held to 14 on Tuesday after addressing the team.

"Just (told) everybody to be focused," DeRozan said. "Each and every single game matters from here on out especially if we want to do something special. We can't take any nights off."

Tagged: Bulls, Raptors, Carlos Boozer, Kyle Lowry, Joakim Noah

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by


NBA Videos

NBA considering mid-season Vegas tournament? Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Adam Silver confirms the NBA has engaged in early conversations about the possib...

LeBron and Blatt 'will work together beautifully' Posted: Jul 14, 2014
Cavaliers head coach David Blatt on LeBron James' decision to return to Clevelan...

LeBron's back and so are the Cavs Posted: Jul 11, 2014
FOX Sports 1's Gary Payton weighs-in on LeBron's decision to return to Cleveland...

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    adidas Blake Griffin Los Angeles Clippers Revolution 30 Performance Jersey - Red http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Los_Angeles_Clippers/browse/featuredproduct/491845/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_491000/ff_491845_xl.jpg&w=100 59.95 adidas Blake Griffin Los Angeles Clippers Revolution 30 Performance Jersey - Red
    adidas LeBron James Miami Heat Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey-Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Heat/browse/featuredproduct/498609/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_498000/ff_498609_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas LeBron James Miami Heat Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey-Black
    adidas Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Knicks/browse/featuredproduct/620470/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_620000/ff_620470_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 adidas Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey..
    Mitchell & Ness San Antonio Spurs Black Solid Script Snapback Adjustable Hat http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Antonio_Spurs/browse/featuredproduct/692239/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_692000/ff_692239_xl.jpg&w=100 25.95 Mitchell & Ness San Antonio Spurs Black Solid Script Snapback Adjustable Hat
    Majestic Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Logo Man T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Los_Angeles_Lakers/browse/featuredproduct/851828/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_851000/ff_851828_xl.jpg&w=100 23.95 Majestic Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Logo Man T-Shirt - Black
    Majestic Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder Logo Man T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_City_Thunder/browse/featuredproduct/851842/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_851000/ff_851842_xl.jpg&w=100 23.95 Majestic Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder Logo Man T-Shirt - White
    adidas Miami Heat 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Heat/browse/featuredproduct/890174/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_890000/ff_890174_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 adidas Miami Heat 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Wh..
    adidas Oklahoma City Thunder 2012 NBA Western Conference Champions Locker Room Flex Hat - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_City_Thunder/browse/featuredproduct/890384/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_890000/ff_890384_xl.jpg&w=100 19.99 adidas Oklahoma City Thunder 2012 NBA Western Conference Champions Locker Room F..