Quick Reaction: Raptors 102, Bulls 114

5 mins read
TOR Raptors 102 Final
Box Score
114 CHI Bulls

K. Birch28 MIN, 14 PTS, 5 REB, 2 AST, 2 STL, 6-13 FG, 1-2 3FG, 1-3 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -7 +/-

If there’s one main reason why Birch was buried in Orlando, it was of course because he was stuck behind the immensely talented Nikola Vucevic. In this game, Birch had his first career opportunity to face his old vet. He was shot-happy in the first quarter, but his defense on Vucevic — particularly in the post — was phenomenal. He struggled to defend the perimeter has Lauri Markkanen rained triples in his eye.

M. Flynn41 MIN, 16 PTS, 4 REB, 7 AST, 1 STL, 5-19 FG, 2-10 3FG, 4-6 FT, 0 BLK, 2 TO, 1 +/-

Looked for his shot much more than in recent games as the team’s lead guard. He actually created well, but with so few shooters to pass to, and no movement on the offensive end, even possessions where he hit the paint and probed often ended with tough jumpers from Flynn himself.

Y. Watanabe9 MIN, 0 PTS, 2 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 0-3 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -8 +/-

Very active defensively, improvising into the middle of the lane in Toronto’s zone to help on drives, even forcing turnovers at times. Perhaps played too well, and left the game early with ankle soreness.

S. Johnson43 MIN, 35 PTS, 10 REB, 5 AST, 3 STL, 12-22 FG, 6-13 3FG, 5-7 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -8 +/-

Hit a triple and converted a pick-six dunk, which was only the start of his shot-making. He connected on a stepback two, stepback three, stepthrough and-one floater.. Defensively, he was iffier. He was the victim of a vicious Coby White dunk in transition. His defense in general was lackadaisical, as he fell asleep multiple times to let his man cut behind him or walk into open triples. Still, who cares about that? He gave a career-high 315 on Toronto’s “audition-for-other-teams” night. Props.

J. Harris27 MIN, 17 PTS, 1 REB, 0 AST, 1 STL, 7-12 FG, 3-6 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 3 TO, -12 +/-

He made his first career NBA start and didn’t lack for confidence. His straight-line speed is impressively bursty, and he uses a variety of finishing angles. His jumper remains clean. He was probably Toronto’s most polished scorer (non-Stan category) on the night, which, low bar, but was clearly telling.

D. Bembry39 MIN, 12 PTS, 2 REB, 6 AST, 4 STL, 6-11 FG, 0-2 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, -4 +/-

He was on fire in the first quarter, attacking the rim and finishing with touch. Saw the ball far less in the second half, as Malachi Flynn and Stanley Johnson took over ballhandling duties. He did have a pick six to LeBron-ian reverse dunk in transition.

F. Gillespie30 MIN, 2 PTS, 5 REB, 0 AST, 3 STL, 1-4 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-1 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -19 +/-

Entered the game and showed his hand on defense, which is death in this league. his defense didn’t improve a huge amount after that, though it was sure tough for him playing alongside other centers for so many of his mintues.

A. Baynes20 MIN, 6 PTS, 4 REB, 3 AST, 0 STL, 3-6 FG, 0-2 3FG, 0-1 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -3 +/-

Playing in his first game since Birch supplanted him in the starting lineup, and his minutes came at power forward beside Freddie Gillespie. He actually looked spry running to his spots on the offensive end!

Nick Nurse

He ran a lineup of Bembry, Watanabe, Johnson, Baynes, Gillespie, which is either properly insane or truly genius, depending on your point of view. He used his challenge call for Aron Baynes, which was something of a fig leaf after the past month or so.

Things We Saw

  1. Raptors lock in the seventh-best odds in the NBA draft lottery. Exciting times ahead.

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