The Raptors let one slip away against in Chicago Friday night. Here are five takeaways from Toronto’s 116-106 loss to the Bulls.
Losing the D
The Raptors have lost two games in a row and they both came due to late game defensive collapses. After controlling the game against Chicago the Raptors lost all defensive intensity towards the end of the second quarter. Toronto gave up 64 points in the second half. The Bulls shot a blistering 51.6 per cent for the game.
The Bulls snapped a five-game losing streak at the expense of the Raptors. Friday’s win marks the eighth straight time the Bulls have beaten the Raptors. The way the Bulls have played in the last few weeks might cost them a playoff spot. But if they do make the post-season, one team that does not want to see them in any round, never mind the first, is the Toronto Raptors.
What makes this loss worse is the Bulls were without three players who have been Raptor killers over the years. Jimmy Butler, Nikola Mirotic and Joakim Noah all were out with injury. This was a game for the taking and foul trouble and foul defence allowed a weak Bulls team to gain confidence and get back in the game.
Doug McDermott scored a career-high 30 points on 13-of-17 field goal shooting and grabbed four rebounds. McDermott was buried on previous coach Tom Thibodeau’s bench as he didn’t have much time for rookies and utilized a short rotation. The Bulls’ current record shows that Thibodeau wasn’t the sole problem in Chicago. However, one of new Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg’s mandates was to develop the Chicago’s young players. Friday was an example as Hoiberg’s fellow Iowa native, McDermott, put on a show and dominated his matchup with Terrence Ross. It’s not just McDermott, the strong play of first-round draft pick Bobby Portis and Brazilian Cristiano Felicio shows that Hoiberg is having success meeting the Bulls’ youth development mandate.
The team Toronto is chasing in the playoffs got better as Cleveland added Channing Frye. Two teams the Raptors might face in the first round of the playoffs also improved, as Detroit added three rotation players and Washington added one of the most skilled players moved at the deadline — who also plays a position of need for the Raptors — in Markieff Morris. The Raptors won’t necessarily feel their decision to stand pat during the regular season as they’ve built up a nice cushion in second place. Where they may feel the lack of an upgrade is in the post-season when rosters get shortened and matchup weakness are fully exposed.
Rumoured as a potential candidate for a Raptors assistant job this off-season, Thunder assistant and former Pelicans head coach Monty Williams had a moving eulogy for his wife Ingrid who died due to injuries suffered in a car crash. Considering he is now the sole parent of five kids and that his wife’s SUV was hit head-on by an oncoming car that had veered across the centre lane, his humility and grace is amazing.