Tue, 07 Dec 2021

Bulls look to beat Raptors for fourth straight time

Field Level Media
25 Oct 2021, 05:55 GMT+10

The Chicago Bulls will try to keep two streaks going and stop another Monday night when they visit the Toronto Raptors.

The Bulls have opened the season with three consecutive victories, and they have won their past three games against the Raptors.

Chicago, coming off a 97-82 home victory overthe Detroit Pistons on Saturday, will try to stop a six-game losing streak at Scotiabank Arena. The Raptors played home games in Tampa, Fla., last season because of COVID-19 restrictions in Canada.

The Bulls had lost 12 in a row to the Raptors before sweeping the three-game series against them last season.

The Raptors are searching for consistency after losing 103-95 to the visiting Dallas Mavericks on Saturday. That followed an impressive away win against the Boston Celtics on Friday and a disappointing home loss to the Washington Wizards in the season opener.

The Raptors are still without Pascal Siakam, who is returning from offseason shoulder surgery.

"We're just going out there playing for each other," said former Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan, who scored 21 points for the Bulls on Saturday. "We knew offense is going to take a little time, but I'd rather it be this way now. We can continue to build defensively while the offense comes around."

The Bulls shot 41.7 percent from the field, while holding the Pistons to 38.6 percent.

"We didn't shoot it great, but I thought defensively we hung in there," Bulls coach Billy Donovan said. "When you have a night like we did shooting the basketball, you want to be able to give yourself an opportunity to win. Without question, the defense did that."

Offseason acquisition Lonzo Ball has made a quick impact with the Bulls.

In the first half, Ball made a superb block on Detroit's Isaiah Stewart at the rim and a strip of Jerami Grant. He finished with 13 points, four blocks and three steals.

"He's everywhere," said Zach LaVine, who scored 14 points. "Hits his open 3s, pushes the transition, brings a real energy and physicality to the defensive end. All-around player, man. We're glad to have him."

The Bulls are 3-0 to start a season for the first time since 2016-17.

A bright spot for the Raptors has been rookie Scottie Barnes.

Through three games, Barnes has 54 points and 30 rebounds. He joins Karl-Anthony Towns and Blake Griffin as the only players since 2000-01 to score 50 points with 30 rebounds over their first three games.

Barnes had 17 points and eight rebounds Saturday and OG Anunoby had 23 points, 20 in the first half. Both had early foul trouble and finished with five fouls each.

Raptors coach Nick Nurse did not agree with some of the foul calls. "I don't know there's a bunch of them that didn't have much to do with anything," he said.

Anunoby said the fouls affected his rhythm. "It definitely messed it up," he said.

After picking up three first-half personals, Anunoby had a quiet second half. "I've definitely got to be more aggressive with my shot, be more involved," he said.

Nurse wants Barnes to attack the rim more, like he did in his 10-point fourth quarter Saturday.

"When he's got space in a one-on-one matchup, he has to put them in the rim until they stop him," Nurse said. "... That's when we'll really start seeing his passing, once he starts drawing other defenders."

--Field Level Media

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