Chicago Bulls

Five Things to Watch: Bulls clash with Raptors tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Bulls clash with Raptors tonight on CSN

Watch as the Bulls take on the Toronto Raptors tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Bulls Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Bulls.

Five Things to Watch:

1. Can the winning streak continue? Perhaps it’s not as wild as the #TNTBulls streak, but the fact that the Bulls have won 12 straight games over a Raptors team that’s had plenty of success since 2013 is absurd. Can it continue? The Bulls have played some of their best basketball this season against the league’s best, and the Raptors are hoping to avoid a second consecutive year of a season sweep at the hands of the Bulls.

2. Playoffs still a real shot. The Bulls will need help to get it done, but they’re just a single game behind the Pistons for the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference. After head-to-head, conference record is the next tiebreaker, and that could come into play by season’s end with the Pistons. That means the Bulls need wins, and especially need to get them against East foes. To steal one on the road against a quality opponent would be huge.

3. The point guard rotation lessens by one. Cameron Payne has been sent to the D-League, and the point guard position looks like Rajon Rondo’s for now. Jerian Grant and Michael Carter-Williams will fill in from there, but even against a Kyle Lowry-less team this is going to be a stiff test for this group. The Bulls will need Rondo to get going early.

4. Scoring won’t be easy. The Raptors have really picked it up defensively of late after adding both Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker at the trade deadline. The Bulls had a solid showing offensively against the Jazz and will look to replicate it against a Raptors team hitting its stride on that end of late. Defense won’t necessarily win it tonight; finding enough baskets late will.

5. Denzel Valentine filling in for D-Wade. Dwyane Wade of course is still out, but Denzel Valentine has played well the last two weeks. Valentine has scored in double-digits a career-best five straight games, averaging 11.4 points on 42 percent shooting in that span. The Bulls will continue leaning on him for those kinds of outings.

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Bulls Talk Podcast: How the Bulls can make it back to the playoffs

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Bulls Talk Podcast: How the Bulls can make it back to the playoffs

On this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast, NBA salary cap expert Mark Deeks joins Mark Schanowski and Kevin Anderson to talk about the Bulls path back to the playoffs and the landscape of the current Eastern Conference.

Deeks also explains how he grew to love the Bulls despite living in the United Kingdom, plus why Fred Hoiberg was his favorite player. Plus, is Kendall Gill a beloved figure in England?

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Top NBA all-time scorers from each state: Kirk Hinrich is on the list, Michael Jordan isn't

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USA TODAY

Top NBA all-time scorers from each state: Kirk Hinrich is on the list, Michael Jordan isn't

The NBA schedule will be released later on Monday, but other than that the offseason has come to a screeching halt.

Luckily, the team at HoopsHype (follow them here) put together an awesome graphic to pass the time.

It's a map of the all-time leading NBA scorers from each state (significant note: the team looked at where the player was born, not necessarily where they were raised).

So there's plenty to break down here as far as the Bulls are concerned.

Kicking things off right here in our home state, Dwyane Wade tops the Illinois-born players with 21,317 points (and counting). Hall of Famer Dan Issel scored 27,482 points but scored nearly half of those in six ABA seasons. Terry Cummings, Eddie Johnson and Isiah Thomas round out the top 5 in the Land of Lincoln.

Sioux city native Kirk Hinrich leads the way in Iowa with his 9,594 points. Raef LaFrentz is second with 5,690 points, while Nick Collison and Harrison Barnes round out the top 4. Barnes, at 4,605 points, has a pretty decent shot to catch Hinrich at just 25 years old.

The last Bulls player on the list is Chet Walker, whose 18,831 points lead the way in Mississippi. He could hang on to that distinction for a while, as current players Monta Ellis (17,111 points) and Al Jefferson (14,091) are on the tail ends of their careers.

Phil Jackson, who won six titles with the Bulls, leads the way in Montana with his 5,428 points.

Now, you'll notice a certain player missing from this map. You'll notice that in North Carolina, Walt Bellamy's name appears instead of Michael Jordan's. That, of course, is because Jordan was actually born in Brooklyn. Jordan's family moved to Wilmington, North Carolina, when Jordan was a small child, but unfortunately that means he's lumped into the same state as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA's all-time leading scorer.