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Chicago Bulls vs Toronto Raptors


We’re in disaster mode in Raptors-land as we head into the, uh, third week of the season. Jonas Valanciunas and Serge Ibaka are actually formally statues (and never the nice form). C.J. Miles has been irradiated by some illness that has stolen his three-point shot. And worst of all, Kyle Lowry, our bulldog champion, doesn't seem like himself.
Child-kissing apart, Lowry hasn’t regarded like himself as a result of because it seems: this season is completely different! Eric Koreen of the Athletic has a thoughtful piece about all of this — Lowry’s utilization is down, he’s nonetheless getting used to the offense, the accountability of taking care of his workforce and himself is a little bit of a drag.
However you understand what may also help remedy all of that? You’re not going to consider this: the Chicago Bulls!
That’s proper, the previous hex-holding Chicago franchise is in Toronto tonight and, in some way, it’s not a second too quickly. It appears like solely two weeks in the past we had been pencilling in schedule losses for each Bulls/Raps sport, and now we’re welcoming them into the ACC with open arms.
And that [shades on] is not any bull. Now listed below are tonight’s sport particulars and issues to control.

The place to Watch:

TSN
7:30 p.m. EST

Starters:

Toronto - Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Norman Powell, Serge Ibaka, Jonas Valanciunas
Chicago - Justin Holiday, Jerian Grant, Denzel Valentine (I imply, anyone has to play the Three-spot, proper?), Lauri Markkanen, Robin Lopez

Accidents:

Toronto - N-no.... no person? [a raven caws in the distance]
Chicago - Nikola Mirotic (damaged face), Cameron Payne (accomplished in by dance strikes), Zach LaVine (dunked an excessive amount of), David Nwaba (who?)
********

How Is Lowry In the present day?

Let’s return first to Koreen’s piece on Lowry. Have a read here. It finds Lowry at an interesting crossroads, one wherein he has to determine find out how to be his finest self, even because the workforce calls for he do maybe much less that he did earlier than? As identified, Lowry is capturing 33 p.c from deep, which is poor for him (and as we’ll get to, one thing the Raps really want to enhance). However there’s additionally this:
That has to do with Lowry’s sinking percentages, positive, however it’s additionally greater than that. Lowry’s utilization proportion, at 19.9 per cent, is his lowest since his penultimate 12 months in Houston — seven years in the past. (An excellent share of the offence would imply each participant had a 20 per cent utilization score.) As a degree of comparability, John Wall’s utilization proportion is at 28.9, Mike Conley’s is at 26.eight and Damian Lillard’s is at 30.7. That 2010-11 season was earlier than Lowry’s all-star appearances, earlier than he made an all-NBA workforce, earlier than he was even thought of to be an above-average start line guard. You may have a look at this two methods: Lowry is making an attempt to guide the cost to make the Raptors’ offence extra egalitarian, or he's struggling to take care of his degree whereas adapting. Each will be true.
This can be a fascinating conundrum, one we knew would seemingly occur because the Raptors discovered find out how to play simpler and balanced workforce basketball. The rationale why Lowry’s minutes and utilization had been so excessive in seasons previous was as a result of, properly, the workforce wanted him to go all-out as typically as he did to place them in one of the best place to win. Lowry fuelled the beginning lineup, he powered the bench, he was one of the best nearer, he was one of the best shooter, he was one of the best resolution maker, and many others.
However now, everybody desires Lowry to take a modest step again, or at the least work out find out how to assert himself another way in order that when it comes playoff time, the remainder of the Raptors don’t shirk the second (and Lowry is completely damaged down). The workforce will want the likes of Norman Powelland Delon Wright, to call two, to play large minutes, they usually’ll want Lowry there as each chief, instructor, and security internet.
In opposition to the Horri-Bulls tonight, none of this may occasionally matter. The Raps have sufficient expertise even with out Lowry to ice them (see the season opener). However this, to me, is now the story of the season: watching Lowry work out find out how to do all of it by not doing as a lot.

Bobby Portis Will... Play?

In response to experiences, Bulls ahead is scheduled to play in tonight’s sport because the workforce’s backup energy ahead. If somebody informed you this, context-free, you’d assume it prudent — Markkanen has confirmed himself to be one thing particular, and he ought to begin. However that’s lacking the purpose.
Portis punched (or fought? or roughhoused?) his personal teammate, Nikola Mirotic, so exhausting that the dude continues to be on the injured checklist. In the meantime Portis... is again. Far be it for me to inform the Bulls their enterprise, however this appears dangerous. Someway it appears like Portis ought to have to sit down out the identical variety of video games as Mirotic, or one thing. The 2 are in direct competitors for minutes for goodness sakes!
That is all to say: let’s see how Portis performs. Will his return be well worth the ill-will seemingly being engendered throughout the Chicago locker room? Will the Portis-Mirotic relationship ever be healed? Will we, as Raptors followers, ever recover from cheering for the downfall of the Bulls?

Tradition Watch

This could grow to be a brand new weekly function on Raptors HQ, as initially invented by our man Harsh Dave: #CultureWatch. Permit me to elucidate.
The Raptors are within the midst of an overhaul to their total offensive system. They've the identical key parts, however the workforce is trying to take (and ideally, make) extra three pointers, whereas additionally aiding on extra photographs. The passes for passing’s sake are one factor, however what we’re occupied with is chilly exhausting buckets. So then, how’s it going?
Uhhh, not nice, Bob. Whereas it’s true the Raptors are eighth within the league in Three-point makes an attempt (at 31.Three per sport), they're lifeless final in proportion at 30.5 p.c — behind even the sad-ass Bulls — and are in determined want of somebody to hit a deep shot. With Miles wanting wilted and Lowry ejected within the debacle in opposition to Washington, the Raps managed a mere 5-of-24 from lengthy vary. This isn't good.
(They did have 17 assists on 37 discipline targets, which isn't dangerous contemplating the brick fest occurring for many of the sport. That the Raptors are center of the pack (16th) in assists per sport whereas being the worst long-range capturing workforce is a formidable feat.)
So then, sound the Tradition Watch siren. How will the Raptors do tonight? Let’s watch.
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