Raptors remain undefeated in preseason with win over Bulls

Toronto improves to 3-0 with the 106-102 win in Chicago.

Minutes picked up a bit for guys expected to be in the rotation as expected, hovering around the 30 mark. Jakob Poeltl (illness) and Precious Achiuwa (groin) missed this game, which gave Chris Boucher a chance to start. The assists weren’t flying around like the first two preseason games (21 compared to an average of 32) but plenty of positives to talk about.

GTJ’s bench spark

One of the bigger talking points so far is should Gary Trent Jr. be starting? In his words, he’s seen the “writing on the wall” when it comes to being the sixth man. However this is the second time in three games where the offence didn’t really get going until Gary checked in.

Trent gave the Raptors an early lead after knocking down back to back threes in 21 seconds. He’s also done a good job over the last couple of games as a playmaker, finding rollers to the basket on a couple of first half plays. Trent led the Raptors with four first half assists.

On the flip side, Dennis Schroder had 12 points and four assists. Both are capable of starting or leading second units. Their roles most likely will interchange throughout the season.

Scottie’s defensive versatility

Barnes was a defensive swiss army knife in the second quarter specifically. With the Raptors being undersized for this game against guys like Nikola Vucevic and Andre Drummond, Scottie was asked to fill that role. He was active on deflections when the Bulls were trying to get Vooch going, and his versatility was on display to end the quarter.

The third play in that clip led to a Trent alley-oop pass to Pascal Siakam. Scottie finished the night with four blocks and two steals.

The fourth quarter duo

Siakam and Barnes scored the first 17 Raptor points before subbing out for good midway through the quarter. Both knocked down a pair of threes, Scottie caught Chicago’s defence off guard on a made basket pushing the ball to find Pascal, and Spicy P added one of his patented spin moves later on.

Barnes (8-14) and Siakam (8-11) scored 22 points apiece in very efficient fashion.

Other Notes

  • Javon Freeman-Liberty was big down the stretch (a couple of assists and offensive rebounds) to seal the win
  • Malachi Flynn had a gritty game (seven rebounds, two steals, some good first half playmaking) but shot 0-7
  • Patrick Williams had two chances to put the Bulls ahead in the final minute. He missed an open corner three, and then couldn’t convert on a drive
  • Zach LaVine (game high 25 points) looks in mid season form

The Raptors close out their preseason schedule on Friday against Washington.