Raptors Will be Down Two Starters for Tonight's Matchup with the Bulls

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Raptors Will be Down Two Starters for Tonight’s Matchup with the Bulls

Chicago Bulls

Let’s make one thing clear: Tonight’s battle already fell under the must-win category, but the latest injury report out of Toronto underscores that belief.

The Toronto Raptors will head into tonight without starting wing OG Anunoby and starting guard Gary Trent Jr.

Anunoby has been sidelined the past 14 games with a finger injury, while Trent will miss his first game since January due to a toe injury.

Both players gave the Bulls fits during the team’s three contests earlier this season. Anunoby’s length on the defensive end was a big reason for DeMar DeRozan’s 7-17 showing in the Bulls’ loss back on February 3rd. NBA’s matchup data has Anunoby holding DeRozan to a 38.5 field goal percentage over 83.5 partial possessions this season. To be sure, DeRozan has still managed to score at least 26 points in each of his three games against the Raptors this season, but Anunoby has been partially responsible for holding him to under a 42.0 percent clip in two of the matchups.

On the offensive end, Anunoby has also averaged 22.0 points and 5.0 assists against Chicago this season. He’s torched a sleeping Bulls defense with some great off-ball movement, and he’s been the beneficiary of numerous catch-and-shoot opportunities, shooting 12-23 from long range against the Bulls this season.

Speaking of draining shots from downtown … Trent went ballistic when these two faced off at the end of January. He drained six buckets from 3-point range on his way to 32 points on an 11-22 shooting performance. The Bulls were able to keep him in check during their February matchup, but his streaky stroke can always be a concern. And we have to say the same about his pocket-picking ability on the other end.

Trent sits 3rd in the league in total steals this season and averages 1.8 per game. His active hands and consistent on-ball pressure helped push the Bulls toward 17 turnovers in the Raptors win last month. Toronto outscored Chicago 22-10 in the points-off-turnover battle.

With guys like Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, and Barnes still expected to take the court, there is no question Toronto has enough talent on the floor to put up a fight. But in a tight East race for a team desperately trying to gain momentum before the playoffs, the Bulls have to take advantage of a team missing multiple starters.

Author: Elias Schuster

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