Game Preview: Huskies vs. Bulls
Toronto is looking for its third straight win while the Chicago Bulls are in town for a Tuesday night tip off. The Bulls come to Toronto having won the previous 11 games between the two teams. The Raptors have bounced back from a disappointing home loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder with victories against the Detroit Pistons on the road and the Indiana Pacers at home.
Tip-off: 7:00 P.M. ET
Broadcast info: TSN1,4 / TSN1050
Continuing to build
When the Raptors used a huge defensive stand to defeat the Detroit Pistons on the road in a comeback victory, the talk postgame was about needing to get off to a stronger start. In a dominant 116-91 home victory against the Indiana Pacers, Toronto didn't waste any time coming out and setting the tone early.
"Our physicality, togetherness defensively, I thought we were on the same page," Dwane Casey said. "I liked the way we had shots, took shots that were our shots. I thought our offensive rhythm was a bit better. Just the profession of getting a rhythm from that standpoint.
Our three-point shooting was a little bit more in sync. Overall, I thought our whole disposition, running the floor, everything we did with a bit more force."
Looking to snap a streak
While the Raptors are looking for their third straight victory, there's another streak they're looking to snap. The Bulls have defeated Toronto in 11 straight match ups. Both teams look a bit different than in their last meeting, making moves at the deadline.
"P.J. and I were talking about it this morning," Dwane Casey said of P.J. Tucker, who was acquired at the trade deadline. "There's been different games, we had leads, there's been games where they've spanked us, there's been close games, middling games, all kinds of games.
We've tried different schemes … so it's time for us to really get that to stop."
Despite new-look rosters, Toronto being without Kyle Lowry as he recovers from wrist surgery, and Chicago being without Dwyane Wade who is out with an elbow fracture, the teams are familiar with each other's star players.
"The one constant is Jimmy Butler," Casey said. "He's been there the whole time; [Nikola] Mirotic has been there a long time but, really, Butler's been there the longest.
"We [need to] make sure we go in with a sense of urgency tomorrow night."
The rookie season is usually more of an up and down roller coaster than a linear line. The key to success is handling the bumps, road blocks, and ups and downs with poise and patience. Raptors rookie Jakob Poeltl has been a pro at dealing with the good and the challenging in his first season in the NBA. Poeltl had his best game this season against the Pacers, scoring a career-high 12 points go to with seven rebounds and two blocks.
"Every time you put him in, he does something positive," Dwane Casey said. "There's that trust, not only with myself but with his teammates. He's doing positive things, he plays with physicality.
"He's always in the right place, very few mistakes, he's very physical, he's not afraid, he loves contact. All those things add up, this is a physical game — and he meets all those criteria."
Developing players while also trying to win is one of the most difficult challenges for NBA coaches. Poeltl's demeanour and understanding that his minutes will fluctuate depending on the opponent is helping make his rookie season easier.
"He's got the emotional stability," Casey said. "He doesn't get too dramatic or excited or down or up. He's a very level-headed young man. All those things factor in to him having a little bit more immediate success that if you were up and down emotionally unstable and all those things. He's got the right mindset."