Turnovers and struggles in the paint doomed the Chicago Bulls during Sunday’s 113-104 road loss to the Toronto Raptors.
Toronto’s Christian Koloko made life especially rough on the Bulls, recording six of the Raptors’ 10 blocked shots.
“He did exactly what he does. Congrats to him. He had a great game,” Chicago’s Dalen Terry said. “But we’ll see him again tomorrow.”
Yes, the Bulls will get an immediate opportunity to rebound on Monday as they host the Raptors in the conclusion of a home-and-home back-to-back.
Koloko scored a career-high 11 points and was one of five Raptors in double figures Sunday. Fred VanVleet (30 points, 11 assists) and Scottie Barnes (19 points, 10 rebounds) each notched double-doubles for the Raptors, who were without leading scorer Pascal Siakam, who is expected to miss at least two weeks with a strained right adductor muscle.
“We need some guys to step up,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “They’re going to get opportunities to possibly do more things. They’re going to need to. And here it is, upon them. We’ll see what happens.”
VanVleet answered the challenge Sunday, making a solid return after missing the past three games with lower back soreness.
Seeing VanVleet excel at distributing has long been a welcome sight for Raptors fans. Nurse, though, has been especially excited about a budding connection with the 7-foot-1 Koloko, a rookie from Arizona.
“He’s given us that lob thread in the screen and roll, which we haven’t had for a while,” Nurse said. “That’s important because it does start freeing up other things, especially the ballhandler a little bit more, right, coming off there to do something and he played good.”
The Bulls, who committed 17 turnovers, fell to 2-8 on the road against Toronto since the start of the 2016-17 season, with one victory coming when the Raptors were temporarily based in Florida.
Chicago has lost two straight overall as the team navigates injury and load management issues of its own.
Center Andre Drummond (left shoulder) has missed five straight games, while Coby White has been sidelined for the past four games with a left quadriceps injury.
Zach LaVine sat for the Bulls as he works back from offseason surgery on his left knee. LaVine had played in four of the team’s last five games prior to resting on Sunday.
“Obviously he wants to play as much as he can play,” Bulls coach Billy Donovan said. “But I think what we’ve had early in the season, especially the last week to 10 days with the number of games, the decision was best to manage him physically. They all collaborate and talk about it.”
DeMar DeRozan, who was coming off a 46-point effort during Friday’s loss at Boston, led the Bulls with 20 points on 7-for-9 shooting. Nikola Vucevic had 18 points, 12 rebounds and six assists.
Goran Dragic — a former Raptor, as is DeRozan — matched his season high with 16 points while enduring boos from the crowd each time he touched the ball.
–Field Level Media