Keys To The Game: Bulls vs. Raptors (1.26.22)

Remind Me Later

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The Chicago Bulls look to string together back-to-back wins as they take on the Toronto Raptors at the UC.

Chicago picked up a road victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder behind a team-high 26 points from Nikola Vucevic and a career-high 24 points from stellar rookie Ayo Dosunmu.

On Wednesday night, the Bulls will take on a Raptors team that has clawed their way into playoff contention despite injury concerns of their own. Key Toronto players Fred VanVleet and rookie Scottie Barnes are listed as questionable for Wednesday night.

Communicate on defense

The Bulls got off to a great start in their Monday night win against the Thunder. The game looked like one Chicago would control coast-to-coast, but extremely poor defense and communication almost led to what would've been a remarkable OKC comeback win.

Players getting back cut in key situations, missed boxouts and more played a large part in the Thunder losing by one point in a game they once trailed by 28.

If the Bulls want to put the Raptors away early, they will have to communicate on defense unless they want to deal with a ton of Toronto second chance scoring opportunities.

Ayo Dosunmu and Zach LaVine on defense against the Thunder

All eyes on Pascal Siakam

Whether or not Fred VanVleet or Scottie Barnes suit up, the Bulls will need an incredible amount of defensive focus on Pascal Siakam, who has bee playing some of the best basketball of his career as of late.

The 6-foot-8 Siakam has occasionally started as a psuedo-point guard for head coach Nick Nurse and the Raptors, using his height and great court vision to pick out all manner of great passes.

Since Siakam can generate good looks as a pick-and-roll ball-handler or finisher, the Bulls will likely need to mix up both the individual defenders and defensive looks they throw at the Cameroonian forward.

Pascal Siakam

Feed the Big 3

On Wednesday night, Chicago will have their three main scorers on the floor together. Nikola Vucevic, DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine should be able to put a tremendous amount of pressure on the Raptors 20th ranked defensive unit (in defensive rating per NBA.com).

The best part of having Vooch, DeRozan and LaVine on the floor together in crunch time, is that it makes it near impossible for defenses to focus in on any one action without likely giving up a good shot to one of three All-Star caliber players.

Unlike the Bulls win over OKC, which was filled with many mistakes on the way to a narrow victory, Wednesday night should provide a chance to see the Bulls offense operating at near peak-efficiency.

Lonzo Ball, Nikola Vucevic, DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine
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