Oh man. There are going to be a lot of feelings in this one.
We already have your pre-game, your post-game, and your quick reactions for every game, but by popular demand (a few people on Twitter) I am bringing my quarterly positives right here in long-form. Rather than try to sum them up in 240 characters or less, I can now expand on what I liked each quarter of the game. If you’re familiar with this format, you’ll know what to expect. If you aren’t, just know that if there is a baby wearing noise-canceling headphones, it counts as a positive and it’s going on the list.
First Quarter Positives:
- Raptors win the tip! That’s twice already this season!
- Keeping the Bulls shooters on the perimeter. They don’t shoot a lot of 3’s, preferring to drive and shoot midrange, so not allowing them to get to their comfort zones makes it harder for them to score.
- Whether it’s OG and Precious, OG and Gary, or any combination of the starters, the Raptors are double and triple teaming the Bulls. A good idea against a team built primarily on sharp-shooting.
- Gary Trent Jr.! His shooting against Dallas was not what we had become accustomed to during the small sample size of this season, but he has already redeemed himself 4 minutes into the first quarter.
- DeMar’s little smirk after hitting the 3.
- Precious’ shot selection has been rather hurried, especially under the basket. But tonight, rather than throwing the ball up with reckless abandon hoping it will go into the net, after a pass under the basket from Fred, we saw him step back, analyze, spin, and shoot with success.
- Team effort – Fred VanVleet grabbing offensive rebounds and kicking them out to his teammates.
- Usually passing into open space is a recipe for disaster. But when Scottie passed out to the left weak side of the court, he knew that Fred would be a half second behind to receive the pass before it went out of bounds or ended up in the hands of Chicago.
- Baseline OG passing to Khem Birch, who was waiting under the basket.
- Goran Dragic playing with aggression. It’s the style of play you hated when he was playing against you, but the same play style will have fans loving him soon enough.
- Khem Birch with the football catch in the paint. I don’t know what the correct terminology is. Go Cardinals.
- Khem and Scottie setting the double screen for Fred VanVleet, tricking the Bulls into thinking that Fred will drive to the basket. Instead he kicks it back to a driving Scottie who ends the quarter with a bang.
Second Quarter Positives:
- Stepback Scottie! His comfort level on the court just 4 games into the season says a lot about him as a rookie.
- Svi from 3! Prior to this shot, Svi chose to pass to Dragic, who missed, rather than take the shot himself. It’s okay to be selfish sometimes. Especially when you’re as deadly as he is.
- Goran with the strip and run.
- Gary Trent Jr. from the corner!
- These are not the Bulls of the Scottie Pippen/Dennis Rodman years, and the Raptors know that. They are taking advantage of the minimalistic style of defence Chicago plays, where a single step to the side will get you open.
- OG driving right to the basket from the left.
- Precious 3! This goes back to the first quarter point where he is thinking about his shot more.
- Chris Boucher responding well to Nick Nurse’ public call-out from after the loss to the Mavericks. He checked in and immediately drained a 3, followed by a defensive rebound.
- Zach LaVine calling off the screener to try and ISO against Precious. Precious responded by clamping him down like “YOU THOUGHT!”
- AN OG SLAM THAT REQUIRED A TIME OUT.
- AN OG 3 IMMEDIATELY AFTER THAT TIME OUT.
Third Quarter Positives:
- Precious chasing down the long rebound.
- OG getting fouled on his own rebound and getting to the line during a scoring drought.
- Awwwww a newborn baby!!!
- Gary Trent Jr. 3 after the much needed timeout.
- Fred VanVleet going through Zach LaVine like a poltergeist.
- A 7-0 run after the Raptors called a timeout, which then caused the Bulls to call a timeout.
- Scottie Barnes with the floater. His shot chart is going to look like a colour-by-numbers by the end of this game.
- 3 point shooting! Everybody is eating!
- Fred driving deep into the paint to get Khem the slam dunk.
- Svi grabbing the rebound and the putback.
- Fred gliding through traffic for the left-handed finger roll.
- DALANO! Mr. Immediate Impact!
- Turnovers! On the other team!
Fourth Quarter Positives:
- Khem Birch with the jumper!
- Dalano grabbing a much needed defensive rebound.
- Goran Dragic saving a loose ball. His impact extends far beyond scoring, which is one of the reasons he was acquired in the sign and trade.
- SCOTTIE BARNES SPIN MOVE!!!!
- More turnovers!
- Alize Johnson I miss you so much but I’m glad you’re flourishing.
- Dragic coast to coast! He is getting in there like swimwear on every possession.
- A career high in assists (15) for Fred VanVleet.
- DEFENCE TO OFFENCE! IT’S WORKING!
- A career high in assists (16) for Fred VanVleet.
- OG! He came out of nowhere! He’s so sneaky!
- Fred to Precious alley-oop, followed by a Fred steal and drive that sends him to the line. This team may not have it all figured out, but they don’t give up.
- A career high in assists (17) for Fred VanVleet.
- Turnover! Freddy bucket!
- ANOTHER ONE! Fred is leaving his entire existence on the court.
- Seriously he’s going to win this game or die tryin’.
- Scottie just recreated the DeMar DeRozan/Detroit Pistons/Anthony Tolliver dunk. The past has become the future.
Final Score: CHI 111 – TOR 108
Positive Player of the Game: Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, That New Baby They Showed On the Broadcast