Man, the Raptors are utter trash. At least they are when they play the Bulls, and to be fair that's the majority of time that I see them. The Bulls were again missing a bunch of dudes in a totally-unexpected-yet-somehow-keeps-happening-predictably way, haven't won a road game in over a month, but they won yet again against the Raptors. It's a 4-0 season sweep over the Trashtors and ninth straight win over Torontrash. Trash.
The Raptors, who are trash, made a mistake at the trade deadline not doing more at the deadline. And yes I'm mostly upset that they didn't work out a Pau Gasol trade to put the Bulls (and us fans!) out of their misery, and while Gasol certainly wouldn't help their defense he'd help. Or hell, trade for Taj Gibson, who'd actually be incredible for their team. As it stands now, Toronto looks to have another disappointing playoff exit, especially if they get matched up with the Bulls as they'd lose in a 2-0 sweep after the Bulls beat them twice at home and they fold the franchise after their rabid fanbase finally just burns the place down. Toronto's defense may get help when DeMarre Carroll returns, but nobody's sure when that is and how much he can contribute in the immediate. I guess they can be pleased with their 'assets' in the summer, with Lowry turning 30 and DeRozan hitting free agency. Yes I'm being sarcastic, and I found myself pretty mad for their sake that they let the Bulls take this one. And mad for my sake, as maybe the Bulls will try and make a playoff run after all? Do we want to endure this?
The Bulls had a glimpse into their underwhelming future as their older guard (Noah, Gasol, Dunleavy, Rose) were out and replaced with lots of minutes for...well, players who are certainly younger. As sad as it may have seemed heading into the game, they had a scintillating 1st quarter led by a perfect period from both E'Twaun Moore and Doug McDermott, who scored 21 of their 34 points. Taj Gibson was making Jonas Valanciunas look weak, then Valanciunas got hurt and left the game. He's no good anyway.
Jimmy Butler was playing a lot of leader-ball in the 2nd quarter: forcing a lot, hitting some, and getting hit plenty, to the point where he berated an official for a technical. But the Bulls lead, which got to double-digits early but had closed early in the 2nd period was back up over double-digits. A McDermott 4-point play capped his 7/7, 24-point first half and had the Bulls surging back over a 10-point lead.
The halftime lead was merely six, but went back up in the middle of the 3rd as the Raptors defense was just putrid (the Bulls shot 50% in this game). Bullsian, even, with their constant shrugs and bewilderment at how to defend screens. It helped that they also couldn't force turnovers on the the Bulls, who'd been throwing the ball around a ton lately. Offensively, the Raptors were helped by getting to the line a ton, and Patrick Patterson had his first quality performance ever versus the Bulls. But even Kyle Lowry, who is 1 of their 1.5 good players (DeRozan is half-good as offense-only) was playing out of control for the most part and whistle-baiting while throwing up his hands in disbelief on their defensive coverages.
Lowry did have a pretty spectacular 4th quarter, a lot of which came in the first part of it while Moore received a breather, but while they got the game close they never took the lead. The Bulls offense was not good in the 4th, but Taj Gibson had a few huge offensive rebounds. Late, the Bulls even tried a complete meltdown, with 2 awful turnovers (Mirotic, who was otherwise really good, doing whatever this was, and the second being the Hoiberg ATO special) , but the Raptors kept going for quick 2-pointers and their final try was some sad DeRozan attempt that went out of bounds. Butler defended that play, and I'm pretty sure he played the entire 4th quarter as part of his 34 minutes overall. I guess that's technically 'restricted' for him?
This all reminds me of that famous scene in Animal House, where Otter says something to the effect of 'The Toronto Raptors always look like shit against the Bulls, but don't worry the Bulls are also shitty and I guess the season isn't over yet, ugh'.