Unfortunately for the Raptors, and possibly an exciting chance to see Pascal Siakam play point guard again, Fred VanVleet remains a question mark just moments before tip-off. Joining him will be Scottie Barnes in what I can only presume to be a couple of game-time decisions. I expect VanVleet to play, if only to face off against DeMar DeRozan (the two are quite fond of each other in a big/little brother capacity) as their compete level remain off the charts.
Scottie could use the rest after hitting that 35-40 game mark — the usual watermark of the rookie wall, after playing around that number of games for the last five years, but his body on the court would help tremendously. Toronto struggled at times in bench-heavy lineups last night, although ultimately securing the win with an effective fourth quarter lineup.
Chicago has always been a tough place for the Raptors to play — geographically pretty close compared to other midwest teams, yet still gaining that hour on the clock seems to mess with the guys’ awareness and comfort level? Purely speculation; I have no idea. Having said that, Chicago is 3-7 in their last ten games, while Toronto is 5-2 in SEGABABA’s this season.
Either way, it’ll be my first time watching DeMar play since joining the Bulls and I’m incredibly excited to see all the ways he’s progressed on the top team in the East. Chicago is technically half a game behind Miami in the standings, but have been the healthier (which is saying something) and more consistent team because of their balance of depth and star players.
Here are some updated details:
Where to Watch:
Sportsnet, 7 p.m.
Toronto — Gary Trent, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Chris Boucher, Precious Achiuwa
(I mean, look at the size of that lineup ^... I love it!)
Chicago — Ayo Dosunmu, Zach LaVine, Javonte Green, DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic
Toronto — Fred VanVleet (knee — GTD), Scottie Barnes (GTD), Khem Birch (nose — OUT), Goran Dragic (not with team)
Chicago — Lonzo Ball (knee — out), Alex Caruso (wrist — out), Derrick Jones Jr. (finger, knee — out), Patrick Williams (wrist — out)