Pre-Gamin’: Raptors at Bulls (7:00 CT) — Lineups, Odds, Broadcast Info, Game Thread

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Pre-Gamin’: Raptors at Bulls (7:00 CT) — Lineups, Odds, Broadcast Info, Game Thread

Chicago Bulls

No Anunoby. No Trent. Raptors are only 1.5 games behind and on the back-end of a back-to-back.

You need to win this one. Simple as that.

Game Info

Toronto Raptors (40-31) at Chicago Bulls (41-29) – 7:00 p.m. CT on NBC Sports Chicago (TV) and 670 The Score (Radio)

Projected Starters

Chicago Bulls

1. Alex Caruso
2. Zach LaVine
3. DeMar DeRozan
4. Javonte Green
5. Nikola Vucevic

Injury Report: Lonzo Ball OUT (knee), Patrick Williams AVAILABLE (wrist)

Toronto Raptors

1. Fred VanVleet
2. Scottie Barnes
3. Pascal Siakam
4. Precious Achiuwa
5. Khem Birch

Injury Report: Gary Trent Jr. OUT (toe), OG Anunoby OUT (finger), Malachi Flynn OUT (hamstring)

More on what the Raptors’ absences could mean for tonight’s game … 

Odds

The Bulls walk into tonight as a -4.0 favorite to the Raptors at PointsBet Illinois Sportsbook and a -4.5 underdog at the FanDuel Illinois Sportsbook. Click on either link to sign up and pick the Bulls to cover (… or pick the opposite, I guess …)!

I like the over on Zach LaVine points tonight. You can get him at 22.5 at both Fanduel Illinois Sportsbooks and PointsBet Illinois Sportsbook. Not only has LaVine looked a little bit more like his former self as of late, but the Raptors will be without two of their peskier perimeter defenders in Gary Trent Jr. and OG Anunoby.

What to Watch For …

•   I don’t need to tell you at this point, but I will: PATRICK WILLIAMS IS BACK, BABY!!! Look, I recognize that Williams isn’t going to be the difference between winning or losing. He is a 20-year-old talent that is still tremendously raw and in the early stage of his NBA development. With that said, it’s impossible for me not to be excited to see him back on the floor. Not only is Williams one of the most intriguing young talents in the NBA, but he possesses a set of skills this Bulls team desperately needs. Remember: Arturas Karnisovas built this roster with the idea that Williams would fit as one of the team’s primary frontcourt pieces. They need his defensive versatility and instincts. Yes, it’ll take time for that to click as he gets comfortable, but having a player like him back at their disposal is awesome.

•   Thanks in large part to the defensive energy of OG Anunoby, DeMar DeRozan has been held to a 42 percent or worse shooting performance in two of the three games against this Raptors team. If we also look at the last 10 games as a whole, DeRozan has slipped into a real funk. While he’s still averaging 24.9 points per game, he’s shooting an uncharacteristic 41.1 percent from the field. The size of Siakam and Barnes will still give him trouble as he tries to attack his spots tonight, but this depleted Raptors lineup could present DeRozan a perfect opportunity to get back into rhythm.

•   Offensive rebounding and turnovers. Those two categories are the main reason the Bulls lost to this squad on February 3rd. They have to take better care of the basketball tonight and offer a fierce communal effort on the glass. The Raptors are the 4th-best offensive rebounding team in the league and force opponents into the 2nd-most TOVs per game.

•   More in here …



Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.