|5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 PM CT23:00 , October 26, 2019
United Center, Chicago, Illinois Attendance: 21,498
Raptors look to share load against Bulls
In their bid to repeat as NBA champions, the Toronto Raptors are scheduled to play 14 sets of back-to-back games this season, slightly above the league average of 12.4.
As the Raptors close the first of those back-to-backs with a visit to the Chicago Bulls on Saturday, Toronto coach Nick Nurse continues to develop a deeper rotation to share the early crunch of minutes. Only eight Raptors logged time in Tuesday's season-opening victory against New Orleans, and that count stood at nine during a 112-106 road loss to the Boston Celtics on Friday night.
"We'll keep adding guys," Raptors guard Fred VanVleet said. "It's going to take some time for them to earn coach's trust. We'll see how it goes. I like the group that we have. The more guys we can slide in there, the better success we'll have over the year. For now, we've got to go with what we've got."
Undrafted rookie Terence Davis II already has logged consistent time alongside Raptors regulars such as Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam and VanVleet in his first two career games. Davis played 15 minutes against the Pelicans and nine at Boston.
Nurse praised early signs of accelerated development in Davis' game.
"He's explosive, he flies right in and grabs some rebounds. ... He'll learn, but there's lots of tools there," Nurse said. "I think the biggest thing is he competes. He'll fly around and go get balls and rebound and make plays and guard people, and that's a great starting point."
The Bulls will close the first of their 12 sets of back-to-backs by entertaining the Raptors in their home opener. Chicago pulled to the .500 mark with Friday's 110-102 victory at Memphis.
Chicago showed early resolve after struggling defensively during a season-opening 126-125 loss at Charlotte on Wednesday night. After allowing the Hornets to shoot 23-for-44 (52.3 percent) from 3-point range, they limited the Grizzlies to a 10-for-29 (34.5 percent) showing from deep.
During the week, Bulls coach Jim Boylen said the team would especially emphasize ways to improve on deficiencies in middle closeouts and transition defense.
"We'll learn from that. We'll grow from that," Boylen said. "This is the part of the job that I really love. That moment where we're hitting a little adversity, we're not playing as well as we'd hope, and we're going to clean it up and work on it. It's the favorite part of the job."
The Bulls trailed by as many as 14 points against the Grizzlies and didn't claim their first lead of the night until rookie Coby White drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the key to put Chicago ahead 95-94 with 3:54 remaining.
White had 25 points, complementing a strong two-man scoring punch led by Zach LaVine, who scored 37 points.
Chicago was outrebounded 56-45, including a 15-9 deficit on the offensive glass.
The Raptors won all four meetings against the Bulls last season, prevailing by 39, six, nine and 23 points. Both of the blowouts came at United Center.
--Field Level Media
Updated October 26, 2019