Alex Caruso Makes Bold Claim Ahead of Bulls’ Showdown Versus Raptors

Alex Caruso, Chicago Bulls

Getty Alex Caruso #6 of the Chicago Bulls.

Amid a new report that many of the key front office figures and coaches are locked up for the foreseeable future, Chicago Bulls guard Alex Caruso has a message for his squad.

“I have all the confidence in the world in our guys,’’ Caruso said, per Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. “Everything resets every night. We’ve had some downs this season, but when you’ve put the money on the line for us, big games, big moments, we’ve put our best foot forward.”

Caruso’s statement is no bluster – the Bulls are 4-4 against the top two teams in the Eastern Conference, the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics. Of course, they are just 1-2 against the Toronto Raptors whom they will face in their first Play-In Tournament matchup.

The Raptors, like the Bulls, are stingy defensively and have been effective in this matchup.

Former Raptor DeMar DeRozan and a healthy Zach LaVine are going to have to lead the way and get a tough victory to keep the season going.

“We’ve got great leadership,” Caruso said. Pat [Beverley], me, DeMar has played in a ton of playoff games, [Nikola Vucevic] is experienced, Zach a little bit now, and I’ve got faith in our young guys taking that big step. I just think that we have the tools to win a game like this, and that’s all I need to see or believe in.’’

DeRozan knows that Raptors head coach Nick Nurse is going to send everything it takes to slow him down.

He hopes to have a trick or two up his sleeve to work around that.

Bulls Prepared for Nick Nurse

“I mean that’s Nick Nurse,” DeRozan said via Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic following the Bulls’ regular season-ending win over the Detroit Pistons on April 9. “I mean I’m going to deal with it. I know how to deal with it now. But playing against Nick and playing against those guys, they try to do everything in their power to make sure I don’t beat them. We got a couple days to gameplan [and] put together something. But I’m aware of it, for sure. I’m aware of it. For my sake, I definitely have my own theory for how I’m going to deal with it.”

Nurse, never one to shy away from pulling out the stops defensively, has garnered LaVine’s respect as well.

“We understand what they do and how Nick makes adjustments and different traps,” LaVine said, per NBC Sports Chicago Bulls insider K.C. Johnson after the Bulls’ win over Detroit. “I think it’s going to be about offensive rebounding, transition. It’s going to be the smaller things to get us over the top.”

Bulls Fate (Somewhat) Sealed

The Bulls know who they will face in the next round of the Play-In Tournament should they pull off the upset over Toronto after the Miami Heat lost to the Atlanta Hawks, setting up a showdown on South Beach on April 14.

Chicago was 3-0 versus Miami during the regular season with a nearly double-digit average margin of victory.

That should only go to bolster Caruso and the rest of the Bulls’ confidence.

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