Game Preview: Raptors at Bulls

Holly MacKenzie - Raptors.com

Toronto Raptors (25-10) @ Chicago Bulls (13-24)

When: Wednesday, January 3, 8 P.M. ET

Where: United Center

Broadcast info: SN1, TSN1050

LAST MEETING

Toronto has already faced Chicago twice this season, picking up wins in both meetings. In the most recent matchup, the Raptors earned a 119-114 victory on Nov 7 at the Air Canada Centre. Though Toronto held a 20-point lead at the half, the Bulls managed to keep things interesting in the fourth, pulling within three points multiple times in the final two minutes of the game. Ultimately, free throws from DeMar DeRozan sealed the game for Toronto. DeRozan led the Raptors with 24 points, while Jonas Valanciunas scored 21 points to go with 10 rebounds.Bobby Portis had 21 points for the Bulls in the loss.

LEADING INTO TONIGHT'S GAME

Injury report: For the Raptors, the injury report is clear. Zach LaVine (left ACL) and Cameron Payne (right foot) are out for the Bulls. Nikola Mirotic (back strain) is questionable.

First of three: Wednesday's game will be the first in a three-game road trip for Toronto. After facing the Bulls for the third time this season, the Raptors will head to Milwaukee to take on the Bucks (for the second time this week), and then head to Brooklyn to finish the trip against the Nets.

And another one: DeMar DeRozan set yet another franchise record in Toronto's last game. During a 131-127 overtime victory against the Milwaukee Bucks DeRozan scored a career-high 52 points to break the previous franchise record of 51 points, set by Vince Carter and Terrence Ross. DeRozan shot 17-for-29 from the floor, 5-for-9 from beyond the arc and 13-for-13 from the free throw line. He also recorded eight assists, five rebounds, a steal and a blocked shot.

Ibaka, shot blocker: Serge Ibaka is ranked 12th in the league in blocked shots, averaging 1.48 blocks per game. After a strong December showing, Ibaka didn't skip a beat in Toronto's first game of 2018, swiping a season-high tying four blocks against the Bucks on Monday.

EXTRA ASSISTS

All-Star backcourt: In addition to DeRozan's 52 points against the Bucks, Kyle Lowry also scored 26 points. The duo combined for 78 of Toronto's 131 points, as well as 14 assists and 10 made three-pointers (combining to shoot 10-for-19 from beyond the arc). It was the most three-pointers Toronto's backcourt has combined to make in a single game.

From deep: Thanks to a 5-for-9 performance from three against the Bucks, DeMar DeRozan is now shooting 35 percent from beyond the arc. He has 37 made three-pointers, already topping last season's total (33). After making a name for himself as an effortless scorer who excelled at getting to the free throw line and owning the mid-range jumper, DeRozan has spent this season reminding everyone of the work he puts in over the summer to constantly expand his game.

Highlight reel: To prepare mentally for game, take a look at DeMar DeRozan's franchise-record setting 52-point performance against the Bucks: