The Toronto Raptors hosted the Chicago Bulls Wednesday night and learned a lesson in the process. The Bulls came out stronger and more physical. They jumped out to an early double-digit lead and would push it to 15 mid-way through the second quarter. The Raptors got the deficit down to seven by half-time but still had a lot of work to do.
In the second half, the Raptors started to make their push and clawed back in the game. They would play better on the defensive end, which would lead to easier baskets on offense. DeMar DeRozan helped lead the charge as he scored a game-high 32 points. However, he struggled late in the game once again.
The Raptors had a chance to win the game as they trailed by one with 11 seconds left. Despite Kyle Lowry and Amir Johnson scoring on back-to-back possessions, they gave the ball to DeRozan who had the hot hand earlier in the game. DeRozan drove to the basket but picked up his dribble early. He panicked and tried to force a shot, but got blocked by Bulls' guard Jimmy Butler. The Bulls would gain possession of the ball, which caused the Raptors to foul them. Butler made one of his two free throws, making it a two point lead for the Bulls. With 2.4 seconds left, DeRozan took the inbound pass and heaved a half court shot to the net that didn't come close. The Raptors would fall 94-92 to the Bulls.
The game itself was very chippy and it had a playoff atmosphere to it. There were a total of seven technical fouls handed out, along with some hard fouls. The Bulls dominated the physicality for most of the game, but Tyler Hansbrough did a nice job for the Raptors as he started to mix it up with the Bulls' players. Hansbrough's toughness got the crowd involved and helped the Raptors get back into the game.
If you didn't think it before this game, you will now – the Raptors need to avoid playing the Bulls in the playoffs. The way the Bulls play by locking down on defense and playing physical is too much for the Raptors to handle and they would probably not fair well in a seven-game series against this team.
The Raptors fall to 29-25 with the loss and have their three game winning streak come to an end.
The Bulls move to 28-25 and have now won four straight games. The season series between the teams finishes 2-2.
Points By Quarter
Here are some notes from the game:
- The Raptors were 3-17 from three point land in the game. You can't expect to win games when you miss that many three's. The Bulls did a great job defensively forcing the Raptors into tough shots and they clogged the lane which caused the Raptors to take jump shots.
- The Raptors only had 10 turnovers, while the Bulls had 18. However, the Raptors also only had 16 assists in which they failed to share the ball like they normally do. Lowry had seven of the Raptors' 16 assists.
- Carlos Boozer led the Bulls with 20 points and eight rebounds. Kirk Hinrich added 19 points on 8-11 shooting.
- Former-Raptors point guard D.J. Augustin poured in 19 points off the bench for the Bulls on 7-15 shooting. Augustin was 4-5 from behind the three point line and his performance makes the Raptors and their fans furious due to his inability to play well during his time in Toronto.
NEXT GAME: Friday, February 21 vs. Cleveland Cavaliers. 7 pm. ET
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