The Raptors host the Chicago Bulls tonight to kick the season off. Check out my season preview here:
Toronto Raptors 2017–18 Season Preview
The Toronto Raptors are coming off their 2nd straight 50-plus win season. The Raps won 51 games and reached the Eastern Conference…
2 days ago, Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic got into a fight during a Bulls’ practice. Portis won the fight with a punch to the face, and Mirotic sustained a maxillary fracture, which is one of these:
Mirotic is out for 4–6 weeks, and the Bulls suspended Portis for 8 games, which is about 3 weeks. His first game back will be on November 7 against the Raptors in Chicago. For tonight, the Bulls are missing 2 more players from an already weak roster. Projected leading scorer and slam dunk champion Zach Lavine is also out until mid-November. Robin Lopez is probably their best active player tonight. RoLo got into a scuffle with Serge Ibaka late last season. Tonight Serge is more likely to pity him.
The Raps should be able to open the season with an easy win. If they take care of business early, we should see the kiddies get some garbage time run.
The free and easy jacking of 3's in preseason has been replaced by hesitation for JV and DeRozan. JV took one from the top of the key only after the whole building yelled at him to shoot it. He (7) and Norm Powell (6) have the Raptors’ first 13 points. Norm is later the first to double figures.
The Bulls are hanging tough and the Raps are a bit sloppy. Perhaps as an expression of his displeasure, Casey puts in an all-bench unit with his first sub. OG Anunoby is the 4 in this unit. He’s surpassed Siakam in the rotation already.
End of Q1: Raps 25, Bulls 23
The bench unit goes on a 23–5 run. CJ Miles has 14 points in his first 6 minutes, Deleon Wright gets an and-1 layup and flexes, and OG Anunoby drives and cuts for some jams. Miles is on fire, drilling ignorant 3's. He’s already had a better Raptors career than DeMarre Carroll.
The starters come back in and things slow down again. The bench group was more fun. OT Genasis is here and will perform at halftime. That CoCo money ran out real quick!
Rough start to the second half. Not that the Bulls are cutting into the lead, it’s just an ugly game. Bring back the bench!
In the first half they ran Lowry with the bench, this time it’s DeRozan with them. Both versions looked good.
End of Q3: Raps 84, Bulls 64
The all-bench unit is back! It’s not quite as magical this time. Van Vleet and Delon manage to get back-to-back layups and the Bulls call timeout.
The Raps are up 20 with 5 minutes left and DeRozan is checking back in for some reason. Siakam makes his first appearance. CJ Miles sits down as the leading scorer with 22 points in about 20 minutes.
JV finishes with 23 and 15.
A good start to the season for the Raps. Philly is here on Saturday and won’t roll over so easily. A sharper effort will be required.