Even though they’re on a three-game losing streak, it’s hard to feel too bad about the Raptors heading into tonight’s game against the Bulls. Toronto can easily explain away a lot of what’s been going on during recent losses to Miami (in overtime), Houston, and Philadelphia.
First off, there’s been the struggles of Pascal Siakam. As the Raptors try to work Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka back into the rotation and flow of the offence, too many possessions have resulted in Siakam over-dribbling — the team is just missing that chemistry they showed early in the season, and Pascal is trying to be a bit too heroic to overcome it. The more time the Raptors can stay healthy with their core eight, the better this should turn out. Of course, there’s some onus on Siakam to be a bit better with shot selection — but getting him the ball in better spots to succeed is something the team can work on as a whole.
That’s where the recent injury to Fred VanVleet proves concerning, though. The usual starting two will be out tonight after being listed as questionable with knee swelling. According to pre-game reports, an MRI came back with nothing really frightening, but the team is going to hold VanVleet away from playing through the pain.
VanVleet is out tonight. Probably the right call in early-December and with a big game vs Kawhi and the Clips coming up on Wednesday. May have been a tough sell though. Fred loves playing in Chicago, close to his hometown of Rockford. He's had some great games there.— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) December 9, 2019
In his place, Norman Powell gets the start against a Bulls team that looked decent in an overtime loss to the Heat last night, but will come in on short travel and rest to play Toronto on the tail end of a back-to-back. If the Raptors come in as motivated as they should be after failing to battle back in three straight games against good opponents, it could be smooth sailing against an 8-16 Chicago team that has — at times — looked like giving up on head coach Jim Boylen in the middle of games.
Here are the game details, now let’s get to the comments.
Where to Watch:
Sportsnet One, 8 PM ET
Toronto — Kyle Lowry, Norman Powell, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol
Chicago — Kris Dunn, Tomas Satoransky, Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr.
Toronto — Fred VanVleet (out — knee), Stanley Johnson (out — groin), Matt Thomas (out — finger), Patrick McCaw (out — knee)
Chicago — Otto Porter Jr. (out — foot), Chandler Hutchinson (questionable — shoulder)