First of all, let’s celebrate ball night!
This is because there are no scheduled games for tomorrow, due to the U.S. midterm elections. The NBA is hoping to encourage fans to vote instead.
So far the Raptors have split their baseball-like two game sets. They got revenge in Miami after dropping the first game. Then Philly flipped the script on Toronto in the rematch (the Tyrese Maxey game).
Raptors scope (6-4 | Offensive rating: 4th | Defensive rating: 6th)
Rounding into nearly top five on both sides of the ball is impressive. Toronto struggled out the gate without Pascal Siakam’s playmaking on Sunday but Fred VanVleet’s all-star level performance got things going in the second quarter and delivered the victory in the fourth. Fred was eager to go straight to the plane afterwards, which gives me the impression that he will be playing the entire back to back? (wild guess).
VanVleet is needed for obvious reasons, but especially considering Scottie Barnes isn’t 100%. Sunday’s statline looks solid (19 points, 10 rebounds, four assists) but Nick Nurse said after the game that Barnes wasn’t moving well, something that was visibly noticeable in the fourth quarter. His ankle tweaks aren’t exactly early Steph Curry career bad but it’s been an issue since the playoffs, through the preseason and now. Nurse also mentioned that Barnes is determined to play through it and not miss any games.
Another thing to note is that Gary Trent Jr. barely played in the fourth. Thaddeus Young got extended run, largely contributing the the Raptors season-high 23 offensive rebounds. Otto Porter Jr. finished the game. Could that be a trend if Gary struggles on offence? He was a team worst minus-25 and hasn’t been knocking down good looks from three over the last two games.
One final note: Dalano Banton turns 23 years old today!
Bulls scope (5-6 | Offensive rating: 18th | Defensive rating: 11th)
Zach LaVine didn’t play in the first game, but he should be good to go tonight. That’s important for DeMar DeRozan, who was hunted down with relentless hard doubles by the Raptors defence. Having another offensive option and one of the NBA’s best microwave players (able to heat up quickly for 30-40 points on any given night) will definitely help.
DeMar still managed to find 20 points on only nine shots but committed five turnovers. Nothing illustrated Nick Nurse’s refusal to let DeRozan find a rhythm than challenging his and-one play less than two minutes into the game.
To Nurse’s credit, he won the challenge and DeRozan only shot six free throws.
Chicago will attempt to avoid a third straight loss.
Tip-Off: 8:45pm EST | TV: TSN 4 | Radio: TSN Radio 1050
Pascal Siakam (groin) will be out at least two weeks. Khem Birch (knee soreness) is out. He has missed the last two games.
PG: Fred VanVleet, Dalano Banton, Malachi Flynn
SG: Gary Trent Jr.
SF: O.G. Anunoby, Otto Porter Jr, Thaddeus Young
PF: Scottie Barnes, Chris Boucher, Juancho Hernangomez
C: Christian Koloko, Precious Achiuwa
Zach LaVine (left knee management) is questionable and didn’t play yesterday, possibly sitting out one of the two back to back games. Expect to see him today. Lonzo Ball (knee) is out for the foreseeable future. Coby White (quadriceps) didn’t play on Sunday either. Andre Drummond (shoulder) is doubtful.
PG: Ayo Dosunmu, Goran Dragic
SG: Zach LaVine, Alex Caruso, Dalen Terry
SF: DeMar DeRozan, Javonte Green, Derrick Jones Jr., Malcolm Hill
PF: Patrick Williams, Kostas Antetokounmpo
C: Nikola Vucevic, Tony Bradley, Marko Simonovic
Chicago is favoured by four points. Over/Under is at 221 (217 points were scored on Sunday, Raptors won by nine).