Bulls fall behind quickly in season opening loss to the Raptors

TORONTO – It’s hard to judge an 82-game season on one night, especially the first of a nearly six month campaign.

Yet what transpired in the Bulls first contest of the 2017-2018 season is about what most fans expected from a team that’s rebuilding and lost two of their regulars in a practice fight this week.

The Raptors, a team looking to be competitive once again in the Eastern Conference, wasted little time schooling the young Fred Hoiberg team in the Thursday night opener in Toronto. They blew the game open in the second quarter, outscoring the Bulls 33-14 and led by as much as 27 in a 117-101 victory at the Air Canade Centre.

Robin Lopez, one of the few regulars back from the 2016-2017 team, led the Bulls with 16 points while rookie Lauri Markkanen scored 14 in his NBA debut, but neither were close to being enough. A 22-2 run to start the second quarter put the Bulls behind for good as the Raptors led by 21 at the half.

Jonas Valanciunas led the Raptors with 23 with C.J. Miles getting 22 off the bench for Toronto, who started off the Bulls season in the way many believed they would on Thursday night.