Photo Credit: Raptors.com
The Raptors are in Chicago tonight as they look to snap their four-game losing streak and avoid a season sweep to the Bulls. Chicago was able to win the first two matchups this season, 118-95 in March before defeating the Raptors by 9 last month.
Toronto has lost seven of their past eight and will play tonight without five of their top six scorers after officially being eliminated from the playoffs on Monday. As the Raptors shift their focus to an important off-season, tonight’s game is pivotal for their draft odds. With a loss tonight, Toronto will have locked up the seventh best lottery odds and a 31.9% chance at a top-four pick.
A compelling reason for the Raptors to keep Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam on the bench while being able to see what the team has in a lot of the younger players. In addition to Lowry and Siakam, Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby and Chris Boucher were ruled out by the team. Jalen Harris, DeAndre’ Bembry and Yuta Watanabe should continue to see increased minutes.
On the other hand, the Chicago Bulls remain alive in the East play-in picture for at least one more game thanks to the Hawks win last night. The Bulls have gone 7-12 since defeating the Raptors last month but still have a slim chance at the final play-in spot. If the Bulls are able to win their final three games and the Wizards lose their final two, Chicago will earn the last spot.
Star guard, Zach Lavine, has been extraordinary all season for Chicago, seventh in the NBA in scoring (27.5) while also averaging five rebounds and just shy of five assists. He scored 41 points on Tuesday against Brooklyn, but didn’t receive enough support from his teammates as the Bulls lost. This has been much of the story for Chicago all year as the team has dealt with inconsistency even after acquiring Nikola Vucevic and Daniel Theis in March.
Toronto will need a good game from Malachi Flynn and Gary Trent Jr. Flynn has averaged 9 points per game over the past 10, while Trent has struggled from the field, shooting 8-36 in two games this week.
While both teams are over ten games below 0.500, the game still holds serious implications. Tip-off can be seen at 8:00PM EST on TSN.