The final score reflected this reality as the Bulls declawed the Raptors 105-91 for their first win of the preseason.
The Bulls finally played at full strength, with many of their key players playing normal minutes until the game became a blowout late. Unfortunately, the Raptors didn’t reciprocate with Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka, Pascal Siakam, and Kyle Lowry not playing.
A late “run” in garbage time made the score respectable, but this one wasn’t even close for most of it. Like the Raptors announcers stopped talking about the game midway through the third quarter if that tells you anything about how this went.
The Bulls began the second half with back-to-back 3-point field goals to extend their already hefty lead to an even heftier 21 points. That was basically the end of competitiveness as the Bulls just continued adding on against the Raptors backups and third stringers.
With all those guys sitting, LaVine was the best player on the floor and he played like it. He did some vintage LaVine dunking which added some bursts of excitement to an otherwise ho-hum second half.
Think Zach LaVine is ready for the regular season? pic.twitter.com/indrI5uWBL— Darnell Mayberry (@DarnellMayberry) October 13, 2019
LaVine finished the game with 26 points on 9-for-14 from the field and a game-high +30 to his name. His penetration put a lot of pressure on the collapsing defense, and he had two assists at the end of the first half to show for it. Carter Jr. had a poor shooting night in the first half otherwise his assist totals would probably have been higher. He doubled that assist output in the second half to finish the game with four dimes.
The jury may remain out on how much LaVine actually affects winning, but he’s going to be a treat to watch offensively this season for hopefully 82 games. The scoring output will always be there but this preseason he has the efficiency to match: 55.8/57.9/78.6 shooting splits through three preseason games.
The Bulls continue to get up their shots from 3-point land. They nailed 18 triples tonight and the 49 that they attempted were more than they took in any game during the 2018-2019 regular season. Seven Bulls players attempted at least four 3-point field goals tonight.
The Bulls were fielding lineups that will look similar to what they will actually use in the regular season. Chicago went with Lauri Markkanen, Otto Porter Jr, Wendell Carter Jr., LaVine, and Tomas Satoransky to start the game. Daniel Gafford was ahead of Cristiano Felicio in the lineup and Denzel Valentine got zero run until the game was out of reach and the reserves were let loose.
Markkanen, LaVine, Porter Jr., and Satoransky all played 20+ minutes despite getting pulled in the third quarter because of the score. So it was close to normal minute loads for Jim Boylen’s crew tonight.
The Raptors built a 14-13 lead before the first timeout of the game with around six minutes in the first quarter. Markkanen and Satoransky had five apiece at this point and both connected from deep. Thaddeus Young and Wendell Carter Jr. were both called for offensive fouls as the game was sloppy early.
In his preseason debut, Wendell Carter Jr. was active in the first half but wasn’t finishing around the rim. The rust showed. An alley-oop from Kris Dunn (one of the few good things he did in the first half) finally got Carter Jr. on the board. But it was the only shot he was able to bury as he finished the first half 1-for-6 from the field although he did collect seven rebounds.
He finished the game with two points, seven rebounds, and an assist.
Wendell Carter Jr Block then dunk pic.twitter.com/418bdDblZK— Gustavo Vega (@iamvega1982) October 13, 2019
Our old friend Cameron Payne checked in at the end of the first quarter and immediately casted up four shots. He hit one of them and had two turnovers in four minutes of playing time in the first quarter. Kind of a typical Cameron Payne experience that Bulls fans should be accustomed to. Just the sheer volume of shots coupled with the kind of shots he was taking, it was pretty obvious that Payne was trying to toss out a giant “I told you so” at the Bulls the entire game.
The final stat line he put up wasn’t much of a “I told you so” though. Five points on 1-for-7 from the field and four turnovers.
Kris Dunn got some good run at the end of the first quarter into the second quarter and took four shots all misses. Three of those were 3-point field goals and frankly none of them were anywhere close.
The Bulls continued to lead halfway through the second quarter 34 to 28. Chicago then kind of slowly built the lead up to 43-32 with just under three minutes to play in the half. Again, expected given who the Bulls were playing versus who the Raptors were playing.
Three Bulls air-balled 3-point field goal attempts in the first half——Dunn, Ryan Arcidiacono, and Coby White. Chicago finished the half 8-for-23 from 3-point land (the Bulls had 33 games last season where they attempted 23 3-pointers or less for the entire game), so the results in terms of shooting percentage wasn’t great but the sheer volume of 3-point attempts was key in helping the Bulls build a 53-38 lead when the halftime bell rang.
The second half looked like just a scrimmage as the Bulls pulled their key players for most of it and just kept on piling on the lead before the Raptors brought the deficit down to respectability when it really became garbage time.
After the flurry of preseason games throughout this week, the Bulls get a break before they continue preseason play on Thursday against the Atlanta Hawks.