10 Observations: Bulls fall to short-handed, reconstructing Raptors


10 Observations: Bulls fall to short-handed, reconstructing Raptors originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Bulls played host to the Raptors in the first of a back-to-back set of games. They fell at home, 118-107, in this one.

Here are 10 observations from the game:

— The Bulls announced Tuesday that Patrick Williams will be sidelined for at least two weeks after receiving a diagnosis of acute bone edema in his left foot. That could leave Williams on the sidelines until after the All-Star break (Feb. 16-21).

Head coach Billy Donovan spoke about a potential timeline for his return pregame.

“I think that’s the hope,” Donovan said when asked about Williams playing after the break. “We’ll see how he responds. I think it’s pretty clear right now with moving into the end of the month of January and then 14-15 days to the break, we can probably anticipate he’s not gonna be available prior to the All-Star break.”

Keep in mind, as Donovan mentioned later, Williams will need a ramp-up period before returning, too. Stay tuned coming out of the All-Star break for more news on his injury status.

— As for other notable Bulls injuries, Donovan was positive. He said Zach LaVine is still getting treatment. Donovan said the team should know more on his front by the end of the week.

Torrey Craig is also unavailable for this back-to-back stint. But Donovan said Craig is “moving closer and closer to playing.” Look for Saturday to be his unofficial first opportunity to return from his plantar fascia injury. Craig hasn’t played since Dec. 16.

Julian Phillips was first off the bench for the Bulls. He played well against the Trail Blazers in Portland, finishing with 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting and two rebounds in 23 minutes off the bench. With the multitude of injuries the Bulls are dealing with, Phillips will likely see more tick.

Donovan acknowledged as much pregame, tipping his cap to the Portland performance and mentioning how injuries provide opportunities for young players.

“I think young guys, they’re going to have their ups and downs,” Donovan said. “[Julian Phillips] gave us a huge boost in the Portland game, he played really, really well.”

Gary Trent Jr. lit up the basket in the first quarter. He finished the first frame with 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field in 10 minutes. He finished with 24 points on 9-of-15 shooting.

—- For a third straight game, Donovan rolled out Andre Drummond and Nikola Vucevic together. In the past, this hasn’t really worked; it’s even been archived for large stretches. Vucevic struggled, even without the Raptors having a height advantage, because they opted to double-team him and he was forced to shoot from the outside (1-of-4 from 3-point range).

Dosunmu finished with 21 points against the Raptors, moving his career-long double-digit scoring streak to eight straight games. He’s also tallied three straight 20+ point games during this streak, which is another personal record of its own, per Bulls PR.

— Terry took a hard fall after charging a fast break and nearly making an improbable layup attempt over three Raptors defenders. He tried getting back on defense but collapsed. He needed help getting off the floor.

Terry suffered an ankle sprain, per the Bulls. He was spotted in the locker room icing his ankle with crutches next to his chair. He used a knee scooter to leave the arena, per Darnell Mayberry. Terry adds to a popular injured list, which includes LaVine, Craig and Williams already.

“It sucks. We keep losing guys,” Vucevic said. “Especially guys like Patrick and Dalen, young guys who have been playing well for us lately. Dalen finally started getting some minutes and really making the best out of it. It really sucks to see him go down.”

— Points off turnovers jumped out after the game. The Bulls turned the ball over a whopping 20 times and the Raptors took advantage to the tune of 30 points off those turnovers. The Bulls appeared to be in the driver’s seat for most of the game, but they lost the killer instinct they came out with to start the game.

“I just don’t think we come out as aggressive in the third as we do at the start of games,” Vucevic said after the game. “At times we ease into it a little bit, especially when we have a lead. We get comfortable and teams take advantage of it.”

“We can’t ease our way back in the second half of the game,” DeRozan said.” We gotta come out and build on that lead and try to ease back into the game again instead of just trying to just put the foot on the gas and play with a sense of urgency.”

— This loss stings the Bulls. The Raptors were not only short-handed in this one, but they’re a whole different roster from the first half of this season. Leading by 10 at halftime, the Bulls allowed the Raptors to come back and win by 11. They should take a long look in the mirror after this one.

— The trade deadline is closing in, as the Feb. 8 date is close to a week away. The Bulls are in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, barely holding onto a play-in spot. How are the Bulls feeling as the deadline nears?

“You never know. Obviously, we’re not in a position we want to be, so you never know,” Vucevic said. “But I don’t think about it too much. It’s out of our control. I like the guys we have in here. I like the team we have. We have to figure out some things but that’s more of a question for the front office.”

The Bulls will travel to Charlotte to take on the Hornets on Wednesday.

P.S. — Red Panda put on an electric halftime show for Bulls fans at the United Center.

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