Playing a 3-game stint against Chicago/New York/Chicago should probably be illegal, if we’re considering the NBA an entertainment conglomerate. Regardless, here we are, ready and primed to watch the Raptors bludgeon the Bulls once more. The saving grace of last game was that Lauri Markkanen is fun, but he’s not even around this time, and the injury problems that are plaguing the Bulls have not been alleviated in time for this game. The Raptors will face a G-League roster for the third time in three games.
The second and first seed in the Eastern Conference is locked up at this point, and I’m not sure how to stretch or reach to find meaning in this game against the Bulls. I’m sure there are a couple fans who want to see the playoff rotation get ironed out during this stretch, but I’m gonna throw my hat in the ring and lay out a 9-man rotation: Lowry-Green-Leonard-Siakam-Ibaka-Gasol-VanVleet-Anunoby-Powell, and Lin *might* get spot minutes. I’d just like to see these players into the playoffs at full health.
With the 905’s season ending last night, Malcolm Miller and Chris Boucher should be available for the rest of the season. Hopefully that allows Nurse to avoid inserting Siakam into fourth quarters where the Raptors are up 15+, and of course, we can avoid the Lowry-Robinson situation.
Hopefully, since the Bulls remain one of the league’s worst defenses, we’ll see Jeremy Lin continue to build on his performance against the Knicks. He hasn’t been able to create separation in the lane or hit open jumpers in his time as a Raptor, but those arent’t things that he can’t get back. Like I mentioned above, Miller and Boucher should be available, and with that, should get some run. I’d like to see Miller get double-digit minutes in specific. I think he has the typical profile of a ‘3 and D’ player, and it should be fun to see him with the big league squad again.
Cold-Ish (This one is actually hot) Take
Kyle Lowry gets a triple-double in 24 minutes.
TV: TSN | Radio: TheFan590 | Tipoff: 8pm EST
Kawhi Leonard (personal) is out, OG Anunoby (head) is out.
PG: Kyle Lowry, Jeremy Lin, Jordan Loyd
SG: Fred VanVleet, Norman Powell, Patrick McCaw, Jodie Meeks
SF: Danny Green, Malcolm Miller
PF: Pascal Siakam
C: Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka, Chris Boucher
Lauri Markkanen (Rest) is out, Otto Porter Jr. (shoulder) is out, Kris Dunn (back) is out, Wendell Carter Jr. (thumb) is out, Denzel Valentine (ankle) is out, and Zach Lavine (thigh) is doubtful.
PG: Shaquille Harrison, Ryan Arcidiacano, Walter Lemon Jr.
SG: Antonio Blakeney, Rawle Alkins, Brandon Sampson
SF: Wayne Selden, Timothe Luwawu
PF: Cristiano Felicio
C: Robin Lopez
The Bulls are running with a skeleton crew, and the Raptors should dispatch them with little effort. Let’s hope for a tidy, healthy win.
Have a blessed day.