Raptors still short-handed, on short rest vs. Bulls

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The Toronto Raptors will try to snap a four-game losing streak when they visit the Chicago Bulls on Sunday night.

Toronto will play on short rest after losing 114-104 against the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday night. The Raptors shot 38.5 percent from the field and 32.6 percent from 3-point range in their season-high fourth straight defeat.

To make matters worse, Raptors coach Nick Nurse said five of his players would remain sidelined against the Bulls while adhering to the league's health and safety protocols. Toronto will be without Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, Malachi Flynn and Patrick McCaw.

Nurse said he still had plenty to learn about his team with some of its top players unavailable.

"I think the thing you're always trying to accomplish is consistency, right?" Nurse said. "I really think that's one of the things that separates guys. I always say the guy that scores 20 points a game in this league night after night after night, that's a hard job to do it that many times a week. There's always a tremendous fascination for me for those guys that can do that every night.

"These guys that haven't played all that much or whatever, we're just trying to look for what can they give you -- something consistent? I'm not talking about 20 points (per game), but can they try to replicate some good performances a little more consistently? I know that takes time sometimes."

Kyle Lowry, who had a team-high 19 points on Saturday, will provide a veteran presence against Chicago. The rest of the starting lineup includes Norman Powell, DeAndre' Bembry, Stanley Johnson and Aron Baynes. Reserves such as Chris Boucher, Paul Watson, Matt Thomas and Henry Ellenson also could log increased minutes.

The Bulls could feel fresher than Toronto after an extra night of rest since Friday's 101-90 loss against Miami. It was the second straight loss for Chicago, which is looking to bounce back after dropping four of its past five games.

Zach LaVine had 30 points against the Heat and Lauri Markkanen added 20, but the rest of the team managed only 40 points on 16-for-57 shooting (28.1 percent).

LaVine is the Bulls' top scorer on the season with 28.5 points per game. Markkanen is next with 19.4 points per game, and second-year guard Coby White ranks third with 16.1 points per contest.

One player who is looking to improve is big man Wendell Carter Jr., who spoke dejectedly Friday night. Carter is averaging 11.8 points and 7.9 rebounds and quickly identified his top issue to improve upon going forward.

"Just offensively, you know, finishing around the rim," Carter said. "I feel like I've regressed in that area of being more aggressive on the offensive end. Just trying to play the right way, do everything that everybody is telling me to do, but at the same time I understand that me being aggressive will be better for my team, so ... I've just got to play a lot better on the offensive end."

Chicago is 7-13 at home. Toronto is 9-12 on the road.

--Field Level Media