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Toronto Raptors vs. Chicago Bulls: Preview, TV Schedule, Injuries, and More

Raptors look to break losing skid as they visit the Windy City

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Atlanta Hawks Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Raptors are headed to visit the Chicago Bulls on the second stop of a multi-game road trip that got off to a rather rough start on Sunday. After a tough finish in the final seconds of a 1-point loss to the Atlanta Hawks, the Raptors will look to capitalize on an opportunity against a team that has also been struggling with injuries and consistency for most of the season. In head-to-head matchups this season, Chicago has a 2-1 advantage, most recently only a couple weeks ago when they secured a 116-110 victory due to stellar 4th quarter play by DeMar DeRozan and Coby White. Their victory in that game wasn’t unexpected, as Chicago has faired well against weaker teams this season, with the majority of their wins coming against teams under 0.500, so they will look to continue this trend.

Toronto has struggled on the road this season, posting a 6-17 record. They’re also in the midst of a 5-game losing streak, a problem that is only compounded by the number of injuries currently plaguing the team. Of course, despite the absence of three of their regular starters, the bench showed up in a big way Sunday with excellent performances from Jontay Porter, Jordan Nwora, and Gradey Dick. Despite the cards being stacked against the Raptors in this matchup, this is a crucial period in the development of not only the bench, but also Scottie Barnes as he continues to adjust to his leadership role. The keys to coming away with the victory tonight will be paint defence, limiting extra possessions, and as always, Scottie Barnes.

How to Watch:

Sportsnet, at 7:30 pm ET

Likely Lineups:

Toronto: Scottie Barnes, Gary Trent Jr., Dennis Schroder, Bruce Brown, Thaddeus Young

Chicago: DeMar DeRozan, Alex Caruso, Nikola Vučević, Ayo Dosunmu, Coby White

Injuries:

Toronto: RJ Barrett (Out; Left Knee Swelling), Jakob Poeltl (Questionable; Left Ankle Sprain), Immanuel Quickley (Doubtful; Quadriceps Contusion), Javon Freeman-Liberty (Out; G League - Two-Way), Kira Lewis Jr. (Out G League - On Assignment), Markquis Nowell (Out G League - Two-Way)

Chicago: Lonzo Ball (Out; Left Knee Surgery), Torrey Craig (Out; Plantar Fascia Sprain), Zach Lavine (Out; Right Ankle Sprain), Patrick Williams (Out; Foot Soreness)

In their last meeting, Chicago outscored Toronto by 24 points in the paint. From a matchup perspective, Vuc poses a significant threat, especially in the absence of Poeltl, having posted 24-14 the last time out. Limiting his ability to operate will be a challenge, but hopefully with the defensive spark provided by the bench a couple days ago, the combination of Porter and Scottie can prevent too much of a disadvantage inside the paint. The Raptors will also have to find sound shooting options tonight as well, since the Bulls were able to challenge interior shots fairly well last time. With Nwora draining 3-7 from distance, Trent Jr. 4-8, and Gradey making 3-5, this could provide some spacing if they’re able to connect again tonight.

Chicago also outperformed on the boards in the last matchup. They finished with 4 more than the Raptors, but Toronto also turned the ball over 4 more times than the Bulls. If the game is won by only a possession or two, every play counts, so taking care of the rock is going to be a huge part of this game. With two of their primary guards missing this will be a challenge, but some patience will be necessary to ensure that they’re prioritizing good possessions and not rushing anything tonight. While Schroder and Barnes have both proven to be effective passers, both have had a number of unforced turnovers as well.

The biggest factor in this game could easily be Scottie, who has been having a season that is worth all-star consideration (although it’s unlikely he’ll get it with the Raptors’ record). He posted 31-7-6 in their last meeting, and has had an excellent stretch of games, scoring 20+ in 5 of his last 6. With the other starters missing, this is a great opportunity for him to get used to the team relying on him, especially in close game situations. In ten different games this season, Scottie has posted double-digits in the fourth quarter. If tonight is anything like the last matchup, it could be a close game, and hopefully Scottie is able to do what he does best and help Toronto finish strong.