Monday, April 15 2024

10 Observations: Bulls eliminated from In-Season Tournament after loss to Raptors originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Bulls flew to Toronto to take on the Raptors for their third In-Season Tournament game counting towards the group play stage. Coming in 0-2 with two games left on their plate — including this one — the Bulls left this one winless in group play thus far, eliminating them from the knockout round of the In-Season Tournament.

Here are 10 observations from the game:

— The Bulls have been relatively healthy all season and that remained the same on Friday night. Zach LaVine (foot) and Coby White (ankle) were both questionable before the game but became available leading up to tipoff. They both started alongside DeMar DeRozan, Alex Caruso and Nikola Vucevic.

— How about another slow start? The ailment affecting the Bulls for several games followed them to Toronto. At the end of the first frame, the Bulls trailed the Raptors by 14 points, 36-22. The Bulls rank dead last in the NBA for first-quarter points scored, averaging 24 per game.

— Frustration set in early for the Bulls. In the second quarter, DeRozan shouted “That’s a f—— foul!” at a referee after the latter opted to call a foul on the ground from a play DeRozan shot the ball. That earned him, and Andre Drummond, a technical foul. That’s what happens when you go down 20 points early in the game.

— LaVine caught some serious fire in the second quarter. By halftime, he racked up 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting. He scored 12 in the second and fourth quarters. He and Vucevic worked well in pick-and-roll situations and he took advantage. He owned 60% of the team’s points at the midway break. LaVine finished with 36 points.

— The officiating was strange in this one. By halftime, four technical fouls were called (3 on the Bulls, 1 on the Raptors). The Raptors were faced with a challenge near halftime on a blatant non-foul from O.G. Annunoby, too. By the game’s end, six technical fouls were called. DeRozan was ejected from the game with 1.4 seconds left.

— Rookie Julian Phillips got some third-quarter tick. Usually a garbage-time player, Phillips got in a little run with the second unit. He recorded 29 points with the Windy City Bulls in the G-League in his last outing.

— The Bulls’ bench, which has provided crucial support in necessary times for the team, didn’t offer much help against the Raptors. They finished with 23 points. The Raptors, on the other end, received 32 points from their bench.

— It’s a stark contrast between how the Raptors and Bulls play on offense. The Raptors constantly pushed the ball ahead; the Bulls were forced to match that energy in certain parts of the game. To me, the Bulls’ offense has been stagnant this entire season. In contrast, the Raptors play strongly as a team. Need proof? They finished with 32 assists. The Bulls? 20.

— Caruso played just 18 minutes in the contest. He appeared to have suffered an injury from the game. Stay tuned, as an injured Caruso would have a major, negative impact on the Bulls.

— The Bulls are officially eliminated from the knockout round of the In-Season Tournament after dropping to 0-3 in group play. They rank last in the East’s Group C. They will play one more group play game against the Boston Celtics on Tuesday.

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Source: Yahoo Sports

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