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Preview: Toronto Raptors vs Chicago Bulls – March 14th, 2021

Photo: Cole Burston/CP

The Toronto Raptors will look to break out of their four-game slump when they travel to the United Center to take on the Chicago Bulls on Sunday night.

The Bulls sit right behind the Raptors in the Eastern Conference standings in 11th with a 16-20 record. They average 114 points-per-game, good enough for fifth in the conference, but are also the third worst defence in the East, allowing 115.1 points-per-game. Chicago is led by All-Star guard Zach LaVine, who continues to cement his reputation as one of the premier scorers, averaging 28.5 points-per-game this season and shooting at a 43.9 percent clip from deep.

Both Chicago and Toronto are top-10 three-point shooting teams in the NBA, so expect the deep ball to play an important role in Sunday’s contest.

With Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, and Pascal Siakam out due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols, the Raptors might struggle to contain Zach LaVine. Both Stanley Johnson and DeAndre’ Bembry are options to take on defensive duties against LaVine, but Nick Nurse would be more confident in Fred or OG’s reputable defensive prowess.

Norman Powell has been Toronto’s biggest offensive threat throughout this losing streak, averaging 27.4 points-per-game over the last five games and hitting 50 per cent of his shots from deep in that span. He and Kyle Lowry will have to carry the offensive load for the Raptors if they want to have any chance of getting back to their winning ways.

In addition to VanVleet, Anunoby, and Siakam, both Malachi Flynn and Patrick McCaw are slated to miss yet another game as they still wait to be cleared from the league’s health and safety protocols.

Catch tip-off on Sunday night on TSN at 9:00 PM EST.

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