Photo Credit: Stacey Revere – Getty Images
The Toronto Raptors are set to host the Chicago Bulls tonight in the second game of their three game homestand. The Raptors are looking to build on their impressive 122-111 win Friday night, defeating the Houston Rockets and handing them their 10th straight loss.
In Friday’s win, the Raptors looked poised despite missing Pascal Siakam, head coach Nick Nurse and five other coaching staff, who are all currently out due to the league’s health and safety protocols. Assistant coach Sergio Scariolo will continue to fill in as head coach for tonight’s game against the Bulls. Look for them to adapt to this adjustment and finish the last three games before the all-star break on a high note.
This will be the Raptors first look at the Chicago Bulls this season, who are sitting close in the eastern conference standings with a 15-17 record on the season. The Bulls had their three-game win streak snapped with a loss to the Phoenix Suns and are looking to get back on track tonight on the road.
With news that Pascal Siakam will be out until after the All-Star break (health and safety protocol), the Raptors will rely heavily upon their star guards to continue their impressive performances in tonight’s matchup.
Kyle Lowry led the way for the Raps Friday night, coming off the court with a historic 20-11-10 triple double. With Nick Nurse out, Lowry will look to continue leading the team through his style of play and by providing a voice of authority for the team.
Norman Powell looks to continue his impressive transition as a starter, building on a game high 30 points on an efficient 10 for 15 shooting from the field against the Rockets.
Despite a poor shooting night for Fred VanVleet, who shot 26.1% from the floor, expect him to bounce back in tonight’s game on both the offensive and defensive ends.
The Raptors prepare for a tough matchup against first-time all-star Zach LaVine, who is having an amazing season leading the up-and-coming Bulls with new offensive career highs. LaVine is well deserving of an all-star spot currently averaging 28.7 points, 5.2 rebounds and 5.0 assists this season along with an impressive 3.6 threes per game on 44.2% three-point shooting. Toronto will look to stay aggressive on LaVine and try to limit the high-flyer’s inside and outside scoring.
The Bulls will be without forwards Lauri Markennan (shoulder) and Otto Porter Jr. (back) for tonight’s game. Both players will be sidelined until after the All-Star break as they look to get back to full health for the second half of the season.
Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m. EST as the Raptors look to get above 0.500 for the second time this season and increase their gap in the conference standings.