Quick Reaction

Quick Reaction: Raptors 122, Bulls 98

Love the people in your life like Siakam and Poeltl love dominating inferior competition.

Toronto 122 Final
Box Score
98 Chicago

S. Ibaka26 MIN, 20 PTS, 7 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 9-12 FG, 2-3 3FG, 0-0 FT, 3 BLK, 1 TO, 13 +/-

This was a levelled-up version of the already more aggressive Ibaka we’ve seen at times this year. He was merciless against poor Lauri Markkanen, repeatedly attacking switches or lapses and getting into the paint for hook shots or popping for mid-range jumpers. He found Valanciunas twice, too, a potentially big development for their chemistry, and was even guilty of OVERpassing at one point. This has to be the best he’s played in a back-to-back all year.

O. Anunoby18 MIN, 5 PTS, 6 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 2-8 FG, 0-4 3FG, 1-3 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 7 +/-

The All-Star break is coming at a good time for the rookie. He’s played in all 57 games, and while he downplays any physical or mental fatigue, he doesn’t seem to have his legs fully under him, at least when shooting. You can question whether he even should have played in this back-to-back given the ankle sprain. He did have a couple of nice cuts for dunks and ran a two-man game with Valanciunas late in a shot clock (he didn’t score, but an important rep that looked fine).

J. Valanciunas23 MIN, 14 PTS, 9 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 7-9 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 2 BLK, 2 TO, 12 +/-

Missed his lone three but the impact of his recent shooting was there, as Lopez closed out on him early and Valanciunas put it on the floor for a hook shot in the paint. He and Ibaka dominated the early parts of the game on offense, Valanciunas controlled the defensive glass, and flashed some of his improved passing, finding Anunoby for a dunk and working nuanced dribble hand-offs with the guards.

K. Lowry27 MIN, 20 PTS, 7 REB, 10 AST, 1 STL, 5-10 FG, 4-7 3FG, 6-6 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 11 +/-

Was freely switching onto wings early to dare them into the post, was aggressive on the offensive end until he found his shot with a pull-up three, and willingly got teammates involved against heavy Chicago attention. It was the third quarter where he really shone, apparently wanting to sit the fourth so he’d be fresh when he follows Tiger Woods at the Genesis Open in the morning. He had a full KLOE stretch, hitting four-point plays, using verticalowry, and generally forcing a good energy onto the game.

D. DeRozan28 MIN, 7 PTS, 2 REB, 8 AST, 0 STL, 3-11 FG, 0-3 3FG, 1-1 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 8 +/-

Was happy to let the bigs eat early as the Bulls forced the ball out of his hands up high, opening up the middle of the floor. He never really found his scoring groove outside of a nifty split of a double-team late in the first half and he lost Holiday a couple of times on defense. And he was still a positive thanks to some truly great playmaking, tallying eight assists. He’s had eight or more assists in 12 of 57 games this year after doing it 19 times in 595 career games entering this season.

P. Siakam22 MIN, 17 PTS, 6 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 7-9 FG, 2-2 3FG, 1-2 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 11 +/-

The first half was the full display of the strides Siakam’s made on offense. He was pushing in transition, attacking from the corner, flashing into the paint with cuts, throwing out hook shots. He even hit a pair of threes. He’s always good defensively, and when he plays like this – even without the shooting – there aren’t many opposing benches who know what to do with him. He completely blew up the Bulls’ plan to trap even the bench guards.

J. Poeltl21 MIN, 10 PTS, 6 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 4-4 FG, 0-0 3FG, 2-2 FT, 4 BLK, 3 TO, 14 +/-

His improvements as a rim protector have been so dramatic and pronounced during this winning streak. He’s now top-five among high-minutes players in block percentage, a huge part of why the Raptors have limited opponents to such a stingy percentage at the rim this year. A perfect shooting night isn’t bad, either, nor is a serious uptick in free-throw percentage of late.

C. Miles20 MIN, 4 PTS, 2 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 1-2 FG, 1-2 3FG, 1-1 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 13 +/-

I wonder if in games like this he feels like when a parent gets to sneak like an hour reading a book because the kids are behaving and entertaining themselves. He had a tough four-point play, found Poeltl for a bucket, and got into passing lanes. The bench mob didn’t need him to score beyond that, as he used two possessions in 20 minutes and wound up a plus-13. Can’t wait for the Instagram caption and “#DaMob” tweet.

D. Wright20 MIN, 7 PTS, 0 REB, 6 AST, 1 STL, 3-7 FG, 1-3 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 16 +/-

He’s fully moved into “my non-basketball watching roommate is a huge Wright fan” territory. A 6-0 assist-to-turnover ratio, solid defense, and the bench once again looking even better with Wright as the primary ball-handler and VanVleet spacing out and attacking seams. More goodness.

F. VanVleet17 MIN, 11 PTS, 3 REB, 4 AST, 1 STL, 4-11 FG, 3-6 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 12 +/-

A ninth consecutive game in double-figures. De’Aaron Fox and Frank Ntilikna could never. Glad to see him changing up the pattern on his fade didn’t have any impact on his play.

N. Powell9 MIN, 2 PTS, 1 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 1-6 FG, 0-5 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 6 +/-

Good to see him once again have productive run with the starters in meaningful minutes. Garbage time really isn’t agreeing with him still, and his 3-point percentage is down under 30 percent. Hopefully the mental reprieve helps.

A. McKinnie5 MIN, 3 PTS, 0 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 1-1 FG, 1-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -1 +/-

Another three! McKinnie has made the most of his limited windows of blowout time to show his improvements as a shooter, the biggest part of his growth with the 905 this year.

L. Nogueira3 MIN, 2 PTS, 1 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 1-2 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -2 +/-

Finally broke his stretch of terrible garbage time play. Over his last six appearances, he’d been a -40 in games the team was +142 without him. This was a step back in the right direction. It’s weird that he’s rarely played poorly in meaningful minutes but can’t get garbage time production.

Dwane Casey

Had his stars buying into working through the bigs early, kept minutes reasonable on the second night of the back-to-back, kept Powell involved in the rotation, and had the Raptors better prepared for Hoiberg’s pet end-of-quarter plays than last time out. So much criticism fell on him for the system for years, so he deserves some of the credit when the offense executes as well as this in the new setup. Very happy for the moment he’ll get on Sunday behind the All-Star bench.

Things We Saw

  1. Serge Ibaka and Jonas Valanciunas were downright dominant to start. The Bulls were trapping the stars, opening up plenty of room in the paint, and the bigs feasted. They combined for the team’s first 14 points and 24 in the first half. The Raptors tallied 20 (!!) assists on 26 first-half field goals, too, and so while the starting unit’s defense was a little slow to come on in this one, they were still able to open up a 12-point halftime lead. The entire unit was dominant in the third. Seamless after they found their legs.
  2. The Bulls really dared the all-bench group to trust the non-point guards, trapping aggressively. They responded well despite some misses at the rim, tearing off a 10-3 run to erase the early deficit and took control of the game back from there, playing to a +13 in six minutes. Good bounce-back after a shakier performance Tuesday. They, uh, gave nothing back in the fourth.
  3. The Raptors recorded 30 or more assists for the eighth time this year. Not only does that rank sixth in the NBA, it matches their TOTAL across the last FIVE seasons. Their 38 assists are the most they’ve put up this year and second-most in franchise history, and their 79.2 assist percentage was likewise their best of the year. They also hit 14 threes and committed just seven turnovers. Obviously, this stuff is easier against bad teams, but it’s become a pattern and an identity. If they can carry it over to late-and-close situations, it’s probably going to work. Hopefully, they’ve built that faith.
  4. This is the third-longest winning streak in franchise history and the non-OG starters have played in exactly one fourth quarter during that stretch. It’s the best record they’ve had at the All-Star break. I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine’s Day. Love you, xo.
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