In a competitive game throughout, the Bulls fell to the Toronto Raptors 113-104 on Sunday night. The Raptors’ aggressive style dictated the pace and the Bulls ultimately struggled to find efficient offense in the final stretch. The Bulls are now 5-6 on the season.
Zach LaVine (knee injury management) sat out on the first night of a back-to-back against the Raptors. Coby White (left quad contusion) and Andre Drummond (left shoulder strain) were also out. Presumably, LaVine will be back in the lineup Monday night, also against the Raptors, back in Chicago.
For the Raptors, Pascal Siakam was out, and will miss a few weeks due to a right adductor strain. The point-forward-center is playing at a first-team All-NBA level and despite their success, the Raptors clearly missed his presence.
The Bulls have a chance to show they can make the right adjustments to beat their aggressive scheme when they play the Raptors on Monday night.
Here are my takeaways from the game:
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Raptors full send
Toronto is known for its length and switchability on the defensive end, and the Raptors put that on display early against the Bulls.
As soon as he crossed half court, the Raptors sent double teams at DeMar DeRozan every time he touched the ball. Aggressively.
DeRozan was bothered all night. Amazingly, he finished with 20 points on only 7-for-9 shooting, but he also had five turnovers and couldn’t get to his spots. After a 22 free throw attempt game in his last outing against Boston on Friday, he got to the line only six times.
The Bulls have seen this kind of scheming a lot over the past year. This is not a DeRozan problem — the rest of the team needs to make things happen while the Raptors are scrambling. DeRozan tried splitting doubles to create on his own, but the Raptors were just too suffocating.
The Raptors even threw the occasional box-and-one and triangle-and-two at DeRozan.
This hyper-aggressive scheme flusters teams, but playing in scramble mode can be exploited. To beat it, the Bulls needed to do a better job moving the ball more swiftly in the half court and getting out in transition to attack.
Steals and offensive boards
In addition to giving DeRozan headaches, the Raptors forced 17 turnovers. They had 11 steals and 10 blocks and grabbed 23 offensive rebounds.
The Raptors are known more for their jumbo wings than having behemoth bigs. To give up as many offensive rebounds as they did was a true knife in the side.
This was another game where Drummond’s presence would have helped. They absolutely need to do a better job boxing out on Monday, as well as punishing the Raptors for attacking the glass so aggressively by getting out in transition.
Dalen Terry rotation minutes
With LaVine and Coby White out, Dalen Terry got some early minutes and had some impressive one-on-one defensive stands.
The first play shows impressive screen navigation and active hands while the second play his discipline to stay down was on display.
Terry finished with four points (2-for-2 shooting), a steal, block, rebound and assist. He had a wild circus shot that went in and generally looked like he belonged and knew where to be for the first time in his NBA career.
Patrick Williams at the rim
Patrick Williams had a strange night attacking the rim. He got blocked four times in the first half by Raptors rookie Christian Koloko. He tried finishing above the rim and drawing contact. None of it worked.
Eventually something changed and Williams put down two monstrous dunks in the fourth quarter.
Having gotten blocked four times early in the game, it was great to see Williams continue to attack the rim. He had 13 points, but shot only 5-for-16 from the field, which was the second most field goal attempts of his career.
Williams had some costly defensive errors, but he may be graduating from being graded on the ‘do you have a pulse’ curve.
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