10 things from Raptors-Bulls

Welcome to the 10 things recap by theScore features writer William Lou, which serves to highlight emerging trends from a Raptors perspective.

  1. Empty: The Raptors managed to wrestle the win away from the Bulls but that's hardly an achievement. Their sluggish play carried over from Orlando as the offense produced yet another unwatchable shooting performance - the Raptors shot 37 percent from the field.

  2. Ragged: Credit the Bulls for a stubborn defensive effort, but the Raptors played into their hands by isolating at every opportunity. Even role players like OG Anunoby were attacking one-on-five as the Raptors abandoned their game plan time and again.

  3. Unacceptable: Kawhi Leonard closed it out with an assertive effort to get to the rim during crunch time but he was far from at his best. Leonard took 22 shots and shot 11 free throws but failed to register a single assist. He only passes when he sees double-teams which makes it hard for the offense to function around him.

  4. Hustle: It was Pascal Siakam's nonstop hustle that got the Raptors over the finish line. He relentlessly attacked the rim and carried an otherwise lifeless bench unit. Siakam's playmaking isn't what it was last season, but the Raptors badly need him to score and he's coming through.

  5. Hollow: The absences of Kyle Lowry and Jonas Valanciunas were made obvious by complete lack of pick-and-roll scoring. The Raptors are at their best when they get a guard moving downhill off a high screen. But that action simply isn't the same with Fred VanVleet or Delon Wright running the show; both struggled to finish at the basket as the Bulls sat deep in the paint.

  6. Spacing: Serge Ibaka has been tremendous for most of the season but he needs to rediscover his stroke from 3-point range. He bricked a wide-open look in the first quarter and later committed a turnover, passing up an open look and dragging his pivot foot while driving against the closeout. Ibaka is down from 36 percent last season to 29 percent from deep this year. Defenses are starting to ignore him at the 3-point arc which is taking away driving lanes.

  7. Finishing: Toronto's lack of success in the paint over the last two games is a concern. The Raptors shot 20-of-42 against the Bulls and 11-of-36 against the Magic on Friday. They have consistently hovered above 60 percent from within the restricted area this season but teams are increasingly packing the paint. The Raptors haven't been able to compensate with clever passing or outside shooting.

  8. Battered: Toronto has already lost 66 individual games to injury over the first three months of the season after losing 67 games all of last year. To make matters worse, the shorthanded Raptors are scheduled to play Utah, San Antonio, Milwaukee, and Indiana over a six-day stretch. It could get worse before it gets better if Lowry continues to miss games.

  9. Adjustment: C.J. Miles is officially out of the rotation for the foreseeable future. Norman Powell took his minutes again after a one-game absence and Nurse stuck with Powell over Miles - even though Powell was a non-factor on offense. The Raptors should take the next step and explore a trade to address their lack of shooting off the bench.

  10. Emerging: There's something there with Chris Boucher, who continues to steal spot minutes away from Greg Monroe. Boucher confidently drilled a corner three and delivered two blocks in five minutes of play in the first half. That was enough for Raptors broadcaster Jack Armstrong to translate his signature "Hello" call to "Bonjour" for the wiry Montreal native, whose hustle and effort quickly won over the home crowd.

10 things from Raptors-Bulls
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