Matchup: Toronto Raptors vs. Chicago Bulls
Records: Raptors (1-1), Bulls (1-1)
Where to Watch
Date: Oct. 26
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
Location: United Center, Chicago, IL
It's a quick turnaround for the Chicago Bulls and Toronto Raptors, who both enter the night on the second end of back-to-backs.
Toronto enters the United Center looking to bounce back from a tough loss to the Boston Celtics on Friday night. This is the first of 13 sets of back-to-backs for the Raptors this season - last year, the team went 9-3 on the second night of a back-to-back.
In Friday's six-point loss to the Celtics, the Raptors were outrebounded by 10, committed 23 turnovers (leading to 26 points) and outscored by 18 in the paint. Toronto must rectify these issues against a Chicago team that is averaging 14.5 offensive rebounds per game through two games (third in the league) thanks in part to the young duo of Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. in the interior.
Pascal Siakam, who has now scored 30 or more points in consecutive games for the first time in his career, will again be looked upon to shoulder the offensive load as he is likely to be matched up with Markkanen. Kyle Lowry is also coming off of a big performance, as he finished with 29 points (11-18 FG, 6-10 3FG) on Friday night in Boston.
It is Marc Gasol and Fred VanVleet that the Raptors will need more from on Saturday, as Gasol finished with just one point (on 0-8 shooting) and VanVleet scored eight points (on 2-11 shooting) but dished out six assists while playing on a sore ankle.
Conversely, the Bulls will be looking to build off of Friday night's win in Memphis in which they displayed some good as well as plenty of room for growth.
Zach LaVine led the way for Chicago in the win, scoring a game-high 37 points (on 13-23 shooting) to go along with six rebounds and four assists in 33 minutes of action. He was one of just two Bulls scorers to finish the night in double figures.
The other? 19-year-old rookie Coby White came off the bench to score 25 points (on 10-16 shooting) and grab six rebounds in 30 minutes. As far as room for growth and improvement, Markkanen scored just nine points (on 4-15 shooting), Otto Porter Jr. finished with four points (on 1-6 shooting), and the Bulls shot 28.6% from deep while being outrebounded 56-45.
Still, it's encouraging for a young Chicago team with playoff aspirations to find ways to win games like they did on Friday night.
The next step for a team like the Bulls to establish themselves would be to find a way to compete and win against a team like the defending champions, who are looking to bounce back from a hard-fought loss.
That will be the goal for Chicago Saturday night.
Injury Report has not yet been submitted
- The Raptors have won nine straight over the Bulls - their last loss came on Feb. 14, 2017.
- Serge Ibaka averaged 15.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.3 blocks over four games against Chicago in the 2018-19 season.
- Lauri Markkanen appeared in just two of the four meetings between the Bulls and Raptors last season; he averaged 14.0 points and 9.5 rebounds in those games.
- It is the second night of a back-to-back for both teams - last season Toronto was 9-3 on the second night of a back-to-back while Chicago was 5-9
- The Bulls have not won a home opener since the 2016-17 season
Last Time They Played
Date: Mar. 30, 2019
Score: Raptors 124, Bulls 101
Raptors: Serge Ibaka - 23 points (10-16 FG), 12 rebounds,
Bulls: Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot - 18 points, 10 rebounds, 2 blocks