The Bell Game of the Week sees the Toronto Raptors begin their final road trip of the 2020-21 season as they travel to the Windy City to take on the Chicago Bulls on Thursday, May 13 at 8:00 p.m. ET on TSN.
Here's all you need to know ahead of the meeting…
Matchup: Toronto Raptors vs. Chicago Bulls
Records: Raptors (27-42), Bulls (29-40)
Where to Watch
Date: Thursday, May 13
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
TV: TSN Network, NBC Sports Chicago or NBA League Pass (USA)
Location: United Center, Chicago, IL
Toronto, which was eliminated from playoff contention on Tuesday, has just three games remaining on its schedule, two of which take place away from its temporary home in Tampa. With the playoffs out of the picture, the Raptors' focus has shifted to the development of the team's future pieces, specifically the rookie trio of Malachi Flynn, Freddie Gillespie and Jalen Harris.
In Toronto's most recent outing, both Gillespie and Harris scored 10 points in 25 minutes off of the bench, while Flynn spent time with a number of tough defensive assignments and finished the game with 11 points (on 4-for-10 shooting) and four assists.
In addition to those rookies, the spotlight will likely shine bright on 22-year-old Gary Trent Jr., who looks to bounce back from two subpar shooting performances. Trent, an impending free agent, is shooting 8-for-36 (22.2 percent) in his last two outings, a pretty uncharacteristic figure for a player that is shooting 40.8 percent from the field this season.
While it is unclear which of the Raptors more established vets will suit up, the duo of Montrealers in Khem Birch and Chris Boucher could be in line for big nights against Chicago.
The last time these two teams met, Boucher exploded for career-highs of 38 points and 19 rebounds in 36 minutes, as Toronto made things interesting before suffering a nine-point loss to Chicago.
Keeping Up With The Canadians 🇨🇦- NBA Canada (@NBACanada) April 9, 2021
Chris Boucher | vs. Chicago
38 POINTS (CH)
3 THREE POINTERS
19 REBOUNDS (CH)#WeTheNorth | @Raptors pic.twitter.com/X01tLAg82Y
Boucher will look to reprise that performance while Birch gets to match up with a familiar face in former teammate Nikola Vucevic.
Chicago's acquisition of Vucevic was certainly a win-now move but the unexpected absence of All-Star Zach Lavine, who missed 11 games while in the league's health and safety protocols, stacked the odds against this Bulls team.
In LaVine's absence, the Bulls posted a 4-7 record but have gone 3-1 since his return. The prolific scorer increased his output in each of his four games back in the lineup, most recently erupting for 41 points (on 15-for-27 shooting) in an eight-point loss to the Brooklyn Nets.
Zach's fifth 40+ point game this season.- Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) May 12, 2021
41 points | 15-of-27 FG | 6-of-11 3FG pic.twitter.com/LBa3chIr89
Depending on availability, expect Flynn and Trent to earn the primary task of making life difficult for Lavine, while Nick Nurse handles the schemes to limit his shot attempts.
The chess match, if nothing else, will be worth tuning in for.
As both teams will not qualify for the 2021 NBA Playoffs, this game actually has bearing on the upcoming NBA Draft Lottery. A Chicago win would lock Toronto in as having the seventh-best lottery odds and a 31.9 percent chance for a top-four pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.
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Last Time They Played
Date: April 8, 2021
Score: Bulls 122, Raptors 113
Bulls: Zach LaVine - 22 PTS (8-16 FG), 13 AST, 6 REB
Raptors: Chris Boucher - 38 PTS (14-24 FG), 19 REB (9 OFF), 1 BLK
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