It seems like just yesterday the Toronto Raptors were losing their play-in game to the Chicago Bulls, DeMar DeRozan’s young daughter screaming from the sidelines... memories.
Turns out that was six months ago, and now we’re nearly into a new NBA season. The Chicago Bulls went on to lose THEIR next play-in game to the Miami Heat, and the Heat went on to make it to the NBA Finals. So really, Toronto had a chance (#delulu moment).
The Raptors are now in Chicago to face the Bulls for the first time since that play-in game. It’s the Raptors’ third preseason game, and they are currently 2-0 in their preseason schedule. They won their first game against the Sacramento Kings in Vancouver, BC, and then won their second at home in Toronto against the Cairns Taipans of the Australian National Basketball League.
Chicago on the other hand has a five-game preseason schedule, and this game against Toronto is their fourth match of that run. They are 1-2 on their preseason record, unfortunately having being dealt pretty rough hand in their schedule. They first faced the Milwaukee Bucks and their newest player Damian Lillard, which the Bucks took. They then went back to back against the NBA Champion Denver Nuggets, winning one and losing one. After tonight’s match against Toronto, the Bulls will close out their preseason against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday.
The Raptors’ light schedule may come in handy for them tonight, but don’t expect them to pull out all the stops to win. The team is in a very “patience and process” based mindset, and surely Coach Rajakovic will be looking to experiment with lineups again like he has in the last two games — ultimately, the team is still getting used to their new “.5 Offence” schemes. In Sunday’s game, all seventeen rostered players for the Raptors saw the court.
We are just over a week out from the opening of the regular season — the Raptors welcome the Minnesota Timberwolves for their home opener next Wednesday. Rajakovic mentioned in a presser recently that roster decisions likely won’t start to happen until after they wrap up their preseason schedule against the Washington Wizards on Friday.
On the Chicago Bulls side, Alex Caruso, DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic, and Zach LaVine are all listed as day-to-day — their status for tonight’s game is unknown. Lonzo Ball remains out.
For the Raptors, Christian Koloko remains out indefinitely as he recovers from respiratory issues. Precious Achiuwa, who suffered a groin injury in training camp, is questionable for tonight. He was seen playing 5v5 in practice the other day, promising sign as we approach the regular season. Otto Porter Jr remains day-to-day as the Raptors ramp him up for the season after missing most of last season. Jakob Poeltl was out of Sunday’s game with an illness, and his status for tonight is unknown.
How to Watch
Tonight’s game is available to watch on TSN, and starts at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The Raptors also announced the 2023-24 broadcast schedule earlier today, with Sportsnet and TSN each broadcasting 41 games in the season. Sportsnet will cover the Raptors season opener next Wednesday.