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Bulls vs. Raptors game preview and open thread

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This is going to be a tough one

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Miami Heat Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Bulls (10-26) have won three of their last four games as they continue to have success taking out the trash. Sunday’s game in Toronto will be a much tougher test.

The Raptors (26-11) no longer hold the best record in the NBA thanks to an ugly loss at the hands of the Magic, so they’ll be looking to get back on track after arguably their ugliest performance of the season. In fact, Toronto suffered two blowout defeats on its recent three-game road trip, so it will feel good to be back at home. The Raptors are 13-4 at home on the season.

Kawhi Leonard has been playing like an MVP candidate this season, but the Raptors will be without Kyle Lowry for a third straight game due to a back injury. Jonas Valanciunas remains out after undergoing thumb surgery in the middle of the month.

The Bulls are healthy outside of Bobby Portis and Denzel Valentine. Friday’s 101-92 victory over the Wizards was the first game in which the core four of Lauri Markkanen, Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and Wendell Carter Jr. started together, and while the first half was an ugly slog, the second half saw the youngsters shine.

But while that was nice to see, the Bulls will need a much better effort overall in Toronto to have a chance against the mighty Raptors. Toronto absolutely dominated the first meeting between the teams in Chicago this season, 122-83.

Tip-off is at 5 p.m. CT on NBC Sports Chicago.