Photo Credit: Raptors Twitter
The Raptors ended their four-game homestand with a 2-2 record after losing to the Bulls tonight, 122-113 in Florida. The Bulls playoff hopes continue to improve, picking up their second win over Toronto this season, and holding the largest win streak in the Eastern Conference, having won their past three games.
Boucher’s monster night flirted with history, one rebound away from being the first Raptor to record a 30 point, 20 rebound performance. While shooting 58% from the field and having career highs in points and rebounds, Boucher’s night was not enough for Toronto as the other starters struggled with their shot.
Toronto was without Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet for the third consecutive game but were able to get off to a hot start, leading 16-7 in the first quarter. From that moment on, the Bulls took a hold of the game, with efficient shooting and a balanced attack. Seven players for the Bulls scored over double-digits on the night, with Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic recording a team high 22 points each.
The Bulls led 64-51 at halftime and were largely in control of the second half, despite the frequently seen comeback attempt from the resilient Raptors in the fourth. LaVine also had 13 assists on the night, while Chicago’s bench provided a huge spark, outscoring Toronto 37-20 in that area.
Lauri Markkanen scored 18 points, while Coby White had 15 off the bench for the Bulls. Pascal Siakam was able to put up another impressive performance, scoring 27 points for the second straight game, although the Raptors shot only 43% from the field as a team.
After a strong start to the homestand, Gary Trent Jr. continues to battle some inconsistency, scoring only six points tonight on 2-14 shooting. Malachi Flynn and OG Anunoby also struggled with their shot in Lowry and VanVleet’s absence. The three starters outside of Boucher and Siakam combined for a total of only 28 points.
The Bulls are now firmly in the tenth place play-in spot with a three game gap now separating them from the Raptors. At 20-32, and with only 20 games left, Toronto’s playoff hopes continue to diminish with each passing game.
The Raptors will play the Cavaliers on Saturday night, looking to snap a nine-game road losing streak. Tip-off is set for 7:30PM EST on Sportsnet.