Well look what we have here: these very same Toronto Raptors, who just beat the Bulls last night 113-104 in what was a very entertaining close game until the final few minutes where the Bulls offense took a collective dump.
With Zach LaVine out last night, the Raptors defense went after DeMarDeRozan to a higher degree than I think we’ve seen any team defense before. They were aggressively trapping DDR on the catch, daring him to move the ball and the rest of the Bulls to take the numbers advantage.
The gamble paid off for the Raptors: not only was DeRozan held to ‘just’ 20 points on 9 FGAs, nobody else on the team really punished them elsewhere, especially late in the game. As a team the Bulls had 17 turnovers, and uncharacteristically DeRozan had 5 of them.
Another even more glaring issue last night was around the rim. The Raptors grabbed an astounding (like, probably happens once a season) 42.6% of available offensive rebounds. Their everybody-6’9”-and-athletic forwards overwhelmed the Bulls everybody-6’6”-or-Vucevic roster counterparts. Undoubtedly Andre Drummond, even for 10-15 minutes, would’ve made a huge difference in this category, but he was out last night too and looks to be tonight as well. The Raptors also had 10 blocks, I believe half of which were just from Patrick Williams getting stuffed by Christian Koloko (don’t worry, Williams is a year younger!).
Where we should see a difference from the Raptors tonight is their offense. Without their leading scorer Pascal Siakam, the Raps still put up a 121.6 Offensive Rating. A lot of it was helped by the 2nd chance points (27) and rebounds plus turnovers advantage meaning they simply had more attempts (103 FGA to the Bulls’ 88), If you’re looking for a potential downside, Toronto did not shoot well from three (10 of 37), but I think missing Siakam means that’s more likely to continue than the outrageous advantage in shots attempted.
LaVine is listed as questionable. You’d want to figure he wouldn’t have to sit both games here.
Coby White is still out, and Drummond is doubtful. Derrick Jones appeared on today’s injury report as probable with a thumb sprain.
For the Raptors, Siakam is still out, as is Khem Birch.
Game Time: 7:45 central time, and free everywhere on the NBA App. Locally on NBC Sports Chicago.