By: Josh Weinstein
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After a disappointing performance against the Washington Wizards on Sunday, the Toronto Raptors (6-4) were able to regroup in the second game of their three-game homestand, defeating the Chicago Bulls (2-7) at Air Canada Centre 119-114. Toronto now leads the season series against Chicago 2-0.
The Raps starting unit had a statement game against the Bulls in the wake of recent struggles, as four of the team's five starters finished in double-figures while shooting 50 percent or better. DeMar DeRozan finished with a team-high 24 points, but it was the play of Jonas Valanciunas that really stood out, at least on the offensive end. The Lithuanian finished with a 21 point, 10 rebound double-double and missed just one of his seven field goals in just 24 minutes. If not for his struggles containing Robin Lopez, who was able to convert 10 of his 11 shots for the Bulls, Valanciunas would have been far and away the best Raptor of the game.
Kyle Lowry bounced back from a short outing against Washington that saw him ejected in the second quarter, aggressively attacking the rim en route to 17 points, 6 boards and 6 assists. It was one of the more complete games from Lowry early this season and a very encouraging performance that could signal the best is yet to come for the floor general.
While the starting unit did thrive, the second unit once again played a vital role in helping to blow the game wide open early on. A dominant second quarter mostly led by the second unit put Toronto in front by a comfortable 20 points entering halftime. Chicago cut into its sizeable deficit, pulling the score to within single-digits late in the fourth, but ultimately the visitor’s comeback attempt proved to be too little, too late.
After serving an eight-game suspension following a practice altercation that left fellow forward Nikola Mirotic with facial fractures, Bobby Portis made his anticipated season debut for Chicago. Portis showed barely any signs of rust, finishing with 21 points and 13 rebounds on just 13 shots off the bench. Expect Portis to get an uptick in minutes going forward.
Next up: Pelicans @ Raptors, Thursday, November 9, 2017, 7:30PM ET