Toronto Raptors vs Chicago Bulls

By: Veronica Harris

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Welcome to the second night of a back-to-back for the Toronto Raptors. I’ve talked to so many people about the city of Chicago and what they think about it and to this day, I haven’t heard one negative thing! So, I’ve decided I’m going to see first hand what’s so magical about the Windy City. I’ll be spending my birthday there and if you so happen to be around the area in July, let me know. We can talk ball, sneaker shop and eat some deep dish together. Maybe even take a photo at that silver bean.

 Speaking of Chicago, the Toronto Raptors were at the United Centre Wednesday night playing the Bulls.

 (Jump Ball)

 First it was JV…and then it was Ibaka sinking the hook shot, getting the Raptors going with a nice easy paced start. Serge Ibaka was feeling it tonight. Shot after shot – they kept going in until the Bulls’ head coach Fred Hoiberg called a time out realizing he had to stop this run. Shortly after, Kyle Lowry pump fakes and passes the ball down to Jonas Valanciunas who finishes with a nice one handed flush! JV finishes with 14pts & 9reb.

 With two minutes and change left in the 1st, the only starter left on the court for the Raptors was Demar Derozan. As much as The Raps could hope, The Bulls weren’t going away easy. Chicago finished the quarter 6pts ahead of the Raptors, 33-27.

 During an interview before the start of the 2nd quarter, Dwayne Casey mentioned that when he heads down to LA for the 2018 NBA All-Star break, he will make Toronto known to the rest of the NBA.  He says there is a lazy narrative about the Toronto Raptors. He says, “folks act like there are only two teams in the East, Cleveland and Boston”. It’s true that Toronto is a forgotten team. Use the example that none of the Raptor rookies (who have the best bench points in the NBA) are a part of the Rising Stars game.

 In the 2nd quarter, the second unit for the Raps stepped up (as always) giving them a 7pt lead before checking in all three of their point guards, Lowry, Van Vleet & Wright.  They were looking to extend the lead before the half time buzzer and came out successful.  Last night, it was Kyle Lowry with the buzzer beater. Tonight, it was Derozan, looking a little like Kobe Bryant & splitting the defense to do so.

 59-49 for Toronto at the half.

 After the break, both teams must have remembered this is the last game for over a week and that some of them were heading to Los Angeles for a fun weekend. They came out of the locker room hustling, playing smart - especially Kyle Lowry who had back-to-back threes. One of which was a four-point play. Lowry finished the game with 20pts, 7reb & 10ast.  Raps up by 19pts.

 The Raptors finished strong putting up 27pts in the 4th quarter and 38ast throughout the game - which is the second most in team history.  The second unit was as strong as ever. They were doing so well that Kyle Lowry didn’t play in the at all in the 4th.  

 For the first time in franchise history, the Raptors are in first place at the All-Star break with 41-16. The break will be good for the Toronto Raptors as I feel they will benefit from the time off. Rookie OG Anunoby will get a good break having 57 starts this season while dealing with an ACL injury. The Raptors are three games away from being the best team in the NBA. The Raptors have won the last 5/6 games by 20pts or more and have won seven games consecutively.

After the All-Star break, the Raps don’t play until February 23rd where they will host “The Greek Freak”, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and the rest of the deer at home in Toronto. The game tips off at 7:30pm.

Raptors 122-98 Bulls