If you missed last night, The Raptors had a huge fourth quarter surge to beat the Bulls 113-104 — despite missing Pascal Siakam. The win was secured by Fred VanVleet’s 30 point, 11 assist performance.
It was announced Sunday that Pascal Siakam would miss at least two weeks with a right adductor strain — an injury he sustained in Friday night’s game against the Dallas Mavericks. Fred VanVleet also returned after being out as well and is presumed to be playing again tonight.
Toronto will re-evaluate Pascal Siakam in two weeks after being diagnosed with a right adductor strain.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 6, 2022
Last night’s game started a little rocky for the Raptors but they were able to secure the win on home court. Will they be able to take the entire short series against the Bulls tonight in Chicago?
Catch the Raptors vs Bulls second match up tonight at 8:45 p.m. on TSN.
Filling the Pascal Siakam-sized spot
One of the keys to success while Siakam is out is making up his points. It will be up to Fred VanVleet, Scottie Barnes, O.G. Anunoby, Gary Trent Jr., and the bench to score. Siakam has been averaging nearly 25 points per game on the season so far, and so it will be team effort to make sure those points are being scored.
Fred VanVleet did just that last night, scoring 30 points and 11 assists. Scottie Barnes helped out with 19 points, 10 rebounds and four assists after recording his first career triple double on Friday night.
Gary Trent Jr. chipped in 12 points, and the rookie Christian Koloko scored 11 points and seven rebounds. With the injuries over the past few weeks, Koloko has recorded five career starts so far. His improvements are noticeable, and while he has a lot to work on, he’s brought great energy on the boards.
Staying active on defence
O.G. Anunoby is surely making a case for himself for some NBA level defensive recognition this season. On top of scoring 22 points, six rebounds and three assists, he also got three steals on the night.
Given maybe the hardest defensive assignment of the night in DeMar DeRozan, O.G. Anunoby did a wonderful job holding DeRozan to just 20 points all night. DeRozan is averaging over 25 points this season.
With DeMar’s 20 points being the most by any Bulls player, the Raptors did a pretty good job on them defensively, especially after the first quarter where the Bulls dropped 30. The Raptors will need to keep that up tonight, especially since Chicago will have a better idea on what’s coming now.
Nick Nurse commented after the game that their plan relied heavily on containing DeMar DeRozan — the Raptors in a way have the advantage of extensive knowledge on how DeMar operates, so that helps.
Although DeMar DeRozan saw a few of the traps the Raptors set coming and evaded them, his 20 points were an indication that it worked. They need to continue doing exactly what they were doing on him tonight and hold him to 20 or less again.
two clutch plays by O.G. Anunoby in crunch time. great execution by anunoby and the raptors to limit DeRozan to just 9 shot attempts tonight. pic.twitter.com/8T9hQG6DkS— William Lou (@william_lou) November 7, 2022
O.G. Anunoby will again be a big part of this. He is turning into the Raptors most important defensive piece. They are number one in steals across the league in big part because of him.
When you’re playing the Chicago Bulls, containing DeMar DeRozan is a pretty good start to winning the game.
Winning last night’s game was a great achievement for a team missing their star player. Now, on the road, they’ll have to work even harder to get the second win.
Yet, if this team has proved anything, it’s that they are capable of a lot. Even though they will be missing Siakam, another performance from VanVleet like last night’s, and help from the other starters will help make up the loss.
Don’t miss the second of two games against the Chicago Bulls tonight at 8:45 p.m. on TSN