Raptors or Chicago for the 3rd Spot in the Eastern Conference?

With the season coming to a close most teams are ramping up the intensity to close out the season with a bang, prior to post season play. This is especially the case for both the Toronto Raptors and the Chicago Bulls. They are both fighting for the 3rd spot in the Eastern Conference which is crucial for play off positioning. Fighting for the 3rd positionĀ in the Eastern Conference is crucial as the team in the 3rd spot will have to play a series with the Wizards where the 4th position will have to battle out a 7 game series with the Nets.

No disrespect to the Wizards, but right not the Nets is a far better team overall and will be far tougher in a series. Whether you win or lose against the Nets it will take a lot out of a team to even get past the Nets. There is no doubt that this is running through the heads of both coaches and players from both the Raptors and Bulls. As it stands Chicago will need an extra win in their last 6 games in relation to the Raptors.

joakim-noah

Both the Bulls and Raptors have another 6 games before the end of the season and as it looks now the Raptors have an easier stretch than the Bulls. As the hardest team the Raptors will be facing is the Knicks and with their past few performance being far from NBA standard Raptors should cruise right on through. The Bulls however still have to play against the Wizards, Timberwolves and Bobcats among other teams.

With the Raptors on fire winning 2 of their last 3 games against the Heat, Rockets, and Pacers. I have no doubt that the Raptors will close it out in style and take the 3rd position in the Eastern Conference. However as the Bulls are still the better team when it comes to the final teams they will have to close out the season against it is very possible that they win all 6 forcing Toronto to follow suit or else face placing in 4th.

Toronto Raptors v Los Angeles Lakers

Who do you think will finish in 3rd position in the Eastern Conference? Who do you believe will win the Eastern Conference Finals and which team do you support? Join in the conversation and let me know in the comments section below.

 

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Return of Derrick Rose

After such a long break from competitive basketball everyone knew that Derrick would be a little rusty and would need a few games to get into his groove. Being preseason he will be getting fewer minutes then when the regular season kicks off. There is so much buzz around Derrick’s return to the court and play for the Bulls. The anticipation is well deserved as the 2010-2011 MVP returns to a fan base that have been lacking the All-Star energy that Derrick Rose brings every time he steps onto the court.

It is a little to early to comment on Derricks future performance in this coming 2013-2014 season, but from what we have seen so far it is looking good. He is still not back to his former self but will surely adjust over the preseason, and will kick off the season hard for sure. Many are speculating that he will bring the Bulls to the Finals. The Chicago fans almost expect it from Derrick after his long break from the league to recover from injury. I believe that this is a large weight to carry for Derrick, and that hopefully the pressure will spur him on to continue to adjust and become an overall better basketballer than he was in previous years. Another super star meltdown in the latter stages of the playoffs is never pretty.

Now when looking at his past two games his stats are reasonable, but definitely not worthy of MVP contention by any stretch of the imagination. To compete or defeat Miami in the Conference Finals will be tough for Chicago as the Heat are better than ever. Derrick scored 24.1 points and 7.4 assists per 36 minutes in his MVP year and in the 2011-2012 season, prior to his ACL injury he was scoring 22.2 points and 8.1 assists per 36 minutes. Comparing this to his first few games of the preseason, where he stands at, 21.5 points and 5.0 assists per 36 minutes he hasn’t done to bad at all. As all returning point guards Derrick was a little sloppy on the passing and shooting, leading to many turnover and lost buckets.

Derrick has said in reports that he has been tirelessly practising throughout his off-year both conditioning himself for the rigorous season to come and to make sure his ball handling and shooting skills are up to par. He has said that he has also increased his vertical by 5 inches now allegedly being about to get 42 inches off the ground, making many defenders weary of the return of Derrick. He seems to still have his explosiveness and trademark speed and has lead Chicago to both their wins so far this 2013 preseason.

I really think that Derrick will return to his former glory and will help Chicago reach the Conference Finals this coming season. It may still be a stretch to say that Derrick will return and get another MVP title, but I have no doubt he will compete with LeBron for the title and help push the NBA to further heights.