ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF)– Many of us in Rockford will have mixed emotions Wednesday night when the Bulls play the Raptors in an NBA playoff play-in game. On the one-hand we’ll be pulling for the Bulls, on the other we’ll be pulling for Rockford’s own Fred VanVleet who will be trying to beat the Bulls.

For this one game in Toronto, it’ll be like the NCAA Tournament…win and advance, lose and the season will be over.

“It should be crazy man,” said VanVleet during a press conference Monday. “Should be a really fun atmosphere.”

VanVleet will be playing against one of his best friends and former Toronto teammates DeMar DeRozan. VanVleet knows how challenging it can be to slow down DeRozan who’s averaging 24.5ppg this season.

“It’s real tough. You got to find some things that’s in schemes and, you know, just be more aggressive, and just try to limit his touches. I think it’s the best way to guard a player like that is just try to make it hard on him, make every catch tough, make every attempt tough.”

Raptors wing player OG Anunoby who led the NBA in steals will most likely be assigned to DeRozan. VanVleet will have to deal with the Bull’s defensive-minded guards Patrick Beverly and Alex Caruso.

“They’ve got two of the better on-ball defenders in our league in Caruso and Pat Bev, so obviously they present a challenge there, but we’ve got some big wings that could finish in the paint and make things tough, so it’ll be a fun little chess match to see where we can be effective at.”

VanVleet has had some of his best games against the Bulls. In their first meeting of this season on November 6 he scored 30 points, and he dished out 11 assists. In their second meeting the next day he scored 27 points.

The Raptors finished the regular season only one game ahead of the Bulls for the 9th seed in the East. That was huge, because that gave the Raptors the home court advantage for this game.

“Having that home court advantage has been one of the more special places to play in the NBA over the last decade. It’s just up to us to go out there and give them something to cheer about,” said VanVleet.

The game Wednesday will tip-off at 6 p.m. CT. It will be shown on ESPN.