The Chicago Bulls are giving the Toronto Raptors every opportunity to make things interesting down the stretch.
Since acquiring Nikola Vucevic and seemingly going all-in at the March 25th NBA trade deadline, the Bulls have gone 3-7 and are just 1.5 games up on the Raptors for the 10th seed in the Eastern Conference and the final spot in the play-in tournament.
If Toronto is going to catch Chicago, the Raptors are going to have to start stringing together some wins, and Tuesday night's tilt against the Atlanta Hawks could be one of those crucial games for Toronto.
The Raptors will once again be without Fred VanVleet who continued to be sidelined with a left hip strain, but things are trending in the right direction for Paul Watson Jr. who is listed as questionable after missing almost three weeks due to the NBA's COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
While Toronto is trending in the right direction from an injury perspective, the Hawks are not. John Collins will miss his eighth straight game with a left ankle sprain, De'Andre Hunter will miss his 11th with a right Achilles strain, Cam Reddish continues to be sidelined, and Danilo Gallinari is doubtful with right foot soreness, and Trae Young is questionable with a left calf contusion. And, despite all that, the Hawks have won six of their last seven games, are riding a three-game winning streak, and are three-point favourites on the road against the Raptors, according to Covers.
The last time these teams met it came right down to the wire and Tony Snell nailed a game-winning 3-pointer to put the Hawks over the edge. Sooner or later the Raptors are going to have to find themselves on the other side of these one-possession games if they're going to make the playoffs and Tuesday's game could offer that opportunity.