This game wasn’t fun to watch.
Against one of the best teams in the league in the Toronto Raptors, the Bulls were down down quickly and by halftime you could tell the final result. To make matters worse, after starting the game with no Zach LaVine or Otto Porter (and Kris Dunn also didn’t play), Lauri Markkanen left the game at halftime with an illness.
There was a desperate run in the 2nd half where Chicago tried to make things interesting at and cut the deficit to ten, but the Raptors just kept making shots. With 4:28 left Serge Ibaka hit a jumper to make it 105-86 Toronto and it felt like the dagger. The final score looked respectable at 112-103 but this was a lopsided loss.
There are very few positives in this one. It was a balanced effort offensively as the Bulls had seven players score double digits. Wayne Selden and Shaq Harrison were the two leaders for the Bulls in terms of points with 20 and 15 respectively. From the field Chicago shot about average with a TS% of 54.3 and had 52 points in the paint. They struggled mightily from three-point land, however, shooting just 8 of 23 (34.8%).
One thing which stood out, and not in a good way, were the turnovers. The Bulls gave possession away 18 times and although Toronto had 15 of their own, Chicago allowed it to turn into points on the other end. The Raptors scored 25 points off the Bulls mistakes and it played a part in the 24-12 advantage in fast break points.
In this play, Cristiano Felicio gets the ball from Ryan Arcidiacono at the top of the three-point line. What this possession should have been was Markkanen getting the ball in the post. He was matched up against Fred VanVleet on the right block in a clear mismatch. Felicio initially looks like he’s going to make the entry pass to Markkanen. Serge Ibaka, who initially was in the paint, stepped up and tried to deny the pass. It creates an opening on his left side and Felicio decides he’s going to take advantage and drive. But as soon as Felicio put the ball on the floor, Toronto’s defense collapsed inside. All three defenders in VanVleet, OG Anunoby, and Norm Powell were on the scene to prevent the drive. Anunoby was the one who got his hands on the ball as he swiped down and knocked it loose. Felicio ran past as the ball remained near the free throw line. Powell ran from the corner and picked it up, sparking a Raptors fast break. There were only two Bulls defenders back on the play in Antonio Blakeney and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot. Blakeney stepped in front of Powell at the half court line and forced Powell to throw it to Anunoby, who was near the free throw line. He catches the pass and goes up for the layup but is met by TLC. The contest looks good until TLC bumps Anunoby in the hip, forcing the ref to call a foul, resulting in two free throws.
Here the Bulls start off by running a Harrison-Selden pick and roll, forcing a pick between Jeremy Lin and Kawhi Leonard. Knowing Harrison’s struggles shooting the ball, Leonard sags back a bit and baits him to drive past him. Harrison moves quickly to his right with a crossover move but danger arises by the time he gets to the free-throw line. Leonard slides to his left in a flash, beating Harrison to the spot where he wanted to go. While he’s moving Leonard sticks his left arm out and pokes the ball loose. The break is on as he and Lin sprint towards the Toronto basket. Selden is the only real Bulls player who can stop the ball here. He tries to go and steal the ball but is caught by a euro step and is taken out of the play. The rest is history as Leonard easily lays the ball in to put the Raptors up 13.
This was one of the more tougher games to watch. Not only were four starters missing but Chicago was down the entire time with majority of it feeling like we were two baskets away from a blowout. The Bulls turning the ball over a lot didn’t make it any better.