The Toronto Raptors take on the Chicago Bulls at United Center on Wednesday evening.
The Raptors (40-16) are poised to head into the All-Star break with their heads held high, considering they've rattled off six consecutive victories and have prevailed in eight of their last nine contests overall. The surge has helped vault Toronto into the top spot in the Eastern Conference for the moment, although their current lead over the Boston Celtics is a modest single game. The Raptors' latest success was a hard-fought one, as they held off the Miami Heat by a 115-112 score on Tuesday night in a game that Miami generated a 16-3 run in over the final 4:42. DeMar DeRozan paced Toronto with 27 points, a total he complemented with four assists, two rebounds and one steal. Kyle Lowry contributed 22 points, eight assists, four rebounds and two steals. Serge Ibaka generated a 14-point, 10-rebound double-double. C.J. Miles poured in 11 points to lead the bench, while Fred VanVleet and Delon Wright tallied matching 10-point efforts. VanVleet also registered six assists, five rebounds and two steals, while Wright had two assists, one rebound, one steal and one block. Jonas Valanciunas totaled six points, 10 rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block.
The Raptors come into Wednesday's game without any injuries of note.
The Bulls (20-36) have had their moments this season as a young, rebuilding team, but they've been headed in the wrong direction as of late. Chicago has come up short in eight of their last 10 games, although they've notably scored both of their victories during that stretch within the last three contests. One of those successes came in their most recent outing, a 105-101 win against the Orlando Magic on Monday night. Lauri Markkanen paced the Bulls with 21 points and added eight rebounds and one block. Bobby Portis followed with a bench-leading 19 points, a total he supplemented with seven boards and three assists. Zach LaVine totaled 18 points, seven rebounds, five assists and one crucial steal that came on an inbounds pass in the closing seconds and led to a tiebreaking dunk. Jerian Grant generated 14 points, seven assists, six rebounds, one steal and one block. Denzel Valentine tallied 11 points, three boards, one assist and one steal. Justin Holiday filled out the stat sheet with eight points, nine rebounds and two assists. Robin Lopez mustered six points, five rebounds, five assists, one steal and one block.
The Bulls will list Kris Dunn as probable to return Wednesday from an 11-game absence due to a concussion after he went through a full practice Tuesday. Cameron Payne, who's yet to play at the NBA level this season due to a foot injury, was recalled from the G-League's Windy City Bulls on Tuesday but isn't expected to play until after the All-Star break.
Wednesday's game marks the fourth and final meeting between the teams this season. The Raptors have prevailed in all three prior contests, winning by scores of 117-100 and 119-114 at home in the first two and notching a 124-115 victory at United Center in the third.
Posted on February 13, 2018 at 11:01 PM ET
Updated on February 13, 2018 at 11:02 PM ET