Game Preview: Raptors vs Bulls
Chicago Bulls (2-6) @ Toronto Raptors (5-4)
When: Tuesday, November 7th, 7:30 P.M. ET
Where: Air Canada Centre
Broadcast info: TSN, SN590
The Raptors opened the 2017-18 season on their home floor against the Bulls, earning a 117-100 victory thanks to a balanced scoring effort. Jonas Valanciunas led the way with 23 points and 15 rebounds, while C.J. Miles had a fantastic Raptors debut scoring 22 points off the bench. Toronto shot 13-for-29 from beyond the arc and had 26 assists on 39 made field goals. The team built a 58-37 lead at the half as Miles went 3-for-3 from three in the second quarter and Toronto took control.
LEADING INTO TONIGHT
Powell rolling: Norman Powell had 15 points in the season opener against the Bulls. After a shaky start to the team's six-game road trip, Powell found his footing in the second half of the trip. His scoring continued in Toronto's loss against the Wizards on Sunday, as he was one of the few bright spots, scoring a season-high 19 points on 7-for-13 field goals.
Seeking consistency: After the Raptors bounced back from a road loss in Denver to finish their six-game trip with a win in Utah, Dwane Casey preached the importance of being consistent each night. Two days later, the Raptors looked more like the team that was blown out in Denver than the victorious squad in Utah. After Sunday's loss, Casey talked about his team deciding who they want to be. On Tuesday, the Raptors will try to bounce back against the Bulls like they did in Utah, and continuing moving forward from there.
Injury report:The Raptors' injury report is empty heading into Tuesday's game. Chicago will be without David Nwaba (right ankle sprain), Zach LaVine (left ACL), Nikola Mirotic (maxillary fractures) and Cameron Payne (right foot).
The other Lauri: Chicago rookie Lauri Markkanen has gotten off to a fantastic start for a Bulls team going through a rebuild. In eight starts, the 7-footer is averaging 16.3 points (a team-high), 9.0 rebounds (a team-high) and 1.3 assists per game while shooting 37.9 percent from beyond the arc and 80.0 percent from the free throw line.
VanVleet staying ready: Joining Norman Powell as a bright spot in Sunday's loss to the Wizards was reserve point guard Fred VanVleet. The second-year guard came off the bench to spark a Raptors comeback that got the team back into the game in the fourth quarter. He scored six straight points to close the third quarter, finishing with 10 points in 20 minutes on 5-for-7 field goals to go with three rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots.
Starting correct: Dwane Casey talked about consistency, but he also talked about getting off to stronger starts. "We've got to make sure we get out of the gates faster, quicker, with more force, more sense of purpose," Casey said. Having Jonas Valanciunas and Serge Ibaka in and out of the lineup with injury during their six-game road trip meant that the starting five hasn't had a full opportunity to develop their rhythm yet. "I think we've got to come out with more energy, more passion," Lowry said. "Our first unit, we've got to figure out a way to play together. I know we're trying to play a certain way, but we've got to figure out a way to play together and have everyone on the same page."