By Richard Kagan
This game was decided early. The Toronto Raptors won it’s seventh straight game against the Bulls led by Kyle Lowry’s 20 points and four treys, and Serge Ibaka also had 20 points against a pourous defense.
The Bulls trailed 61-49 at the half, and the Raptors led 75-57 early in the third quarter. The game was essentially over. Chicago now has lost nine of eleven games.
Chicago shot just 43% from the floor. Zach LaVine was five for 17 for the night. Bobby Portis led the Bulls with 18 points. Lauri Markkanen had 14.
About the only positive thing to note was the appearance by guard Kris Dunn who played 20 minutes in his first game since missing 11 games due to a concussion suffered in game on January 17th. He scored eight points. Dunn is scheduled to play in the Rising Star Challenge during All-Star weekend. It is hoped he tolerates that competition well so the Bulls can have him back at full strength after the All-Star break.
The future of this team is Dunn, LaVine, and Markkanen and they need to be on the court as much as possible in upcoming games. The rebuild is on. Players like Cristiano Felicio will see some action, as well as Paul Zipser and Denzel Valentine.
The Raptors shot 52% in the game, and the Bulls got routed. Now they go into the All-Star break in need of some down time. And a newer, younger team will emerge for the remaining schedule. The Bulls are expected to play hard and the let wins fall where they may. In this game, the Bulls faced a very strong Eastern Conference foe, firing away. DeMar DeRozan, one of the best guards in the game had only seven points, but the Raptors got contributions from just about everyone in the lineup.