In a whirlwind of a day, Bruce Brown made a remarkable debut for the Toronto Raptors, showing off his skills just hours after joining the team from Indiana. While still adapting to a new environment, Brown played a crucial role in the Raptors’ game against the Chicago Bulls on Thursday.
Nikola Vucevic led the charge for the Chicago Bulls with a double-double performance, scoring 24 points and grabbing 13 rebounds, ultimately securing a 116-110 victory over the Raptors. Bruce Brown, who arrived in Toronto following a blockbuster trade with the Indiana Pacers, managed to make an immediate impact, contributing 15 points and seven rebounds off the bench.
Brown’s transition to the Raptors came as part of the trade that also involved Jordan Nwora and Kira Lewis Jr., with the Raptors acquiring three first-round picks and all-star Pascal Siakam in the deal. Brown, a seasoned NBA player with stints at the Detroit Pistons, Brooklyn Nets, and Denver Nuggets, found himself in a new situation, learning the Raptors’ playbook on the fly.
“I don’t know any of the plays. I don’t know much,” Brown admitted, acknowledging the challenge of adapting to a new team’s offensive strategies. Despite the learning curve, Brown’s ability to cut to the basket and set screens proved valuable, reminiscent of his time in Brooklyn.
Toronto’s head coach, Darko Rajakovic, recognized Brown’s strengths as a cutter in the NBA and aimed to simplify the offensive schemes to integrate him into the team’s strategy effectively.
“We were really trying to simplify offensively there for him,” said Rajakovic. “Go stay in the corner, go set a pick-and-roll, literally like basic instruction. Thank God he’s a smart player and he’s not playing basketball for the first time.”
Former Raptors star DeMar DeRozan led the Chicago Bulls with 24 points and seven rebounds, while Coby White contributed 23 points and eight rebounds. Scottie Barnes led the Raptors with an impressive performance, scoring 31 points, securing seven rebounds, and providing six assists. With Siakam’s departure, Barnes has emerged as the focal point of the Raptors’ offense.
The Raptors faced challenges with their three-point shooting in the first quarter, missing all nine attempts, which allowed the Bulls to build an early lead. However, they managed to close the gap and make it a competitive game in the second half.
Despite Brown’s promising debut, the Bulls managed to secure the victory with a final score of 116-110. The game also featured a special appearance by Raptors legend Vince Carter, who received a warm welcome from fans during a break in play.
The Toronto Raptors will now prepare for a matchup against the New York Knicks, marking the first game since the trade that sent RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley to Toronto. Meanwhile, the Chicago Bulls will host the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday.