Keys to the Game: Bulls vs. Raptors (10.26.19)

The Chicago Bulls debut their new-look lineup at home for the first time this evening in hosting the defending champion Toronto Raptors at the United Center. Tonight's contest closes the book on a back-to-back set of games for both the Bulls and Raptors, as Chicago played in Memphis last night and Toronto was in Boston. After tonight's game the Bulls hit the road for two more, meeting the Knicks in New York on Monday and the Cavaliers in Cleveland on Wednesday before heading home to the UC to meet the Detroit Pistons next Friday, November 1st.

As for tonight, look for Chicago to come out of the gates fast in front of their home fans. The Bulls are at their best when they're aggressive and quickly establish a speedy pace. It's essential they crash the boards at both ends of the floor as a dedicated rebounding effort — especially on the defensive end — will help ignite the team's running game.

As they often demonstrated during the preseason, when the Bulls unselfishly share the ball, making it hop from player-to-player and from side-to-side, open looks at the hoop often appear. To truly be effective, they need to spread the floor and keep everyone involved in the action.

Look for Chicago to station shooters all around the 3-point arc, which will force Toronto's defense to either abandon the paint or leave a shooter open outside. If the Raptors defense chooses to follow out to the perimeter, all five Chicagoans will need to show an eagerness to attack the paint and take the action to the rim.

Defensively the Bulls cannot allow the Raptors an opportunity to establish a comfortable rhythm. Chicago's defense needs to be aggressive from the opening tip and stay tied together throughout the game, denying Toronto chances to post easy scores. The Bulls must show up focused and sport a nasty attitude right from the start. They have to be willing to be physical at both ends of the floor to give themselves the best opportunity to come away with a victory.