After annihilating the Atlanta Hawks this past Monday, the Chicago Bulls looked to achieve their fourth straight road win. After giving up a ten-plus point lead, the Bulls persevered, hanging on in overtime for a 107-105 win.
The game started off much better than it ended. Chicago won the opening tip that led to a dunk by Joakim Noah for the first points of the match-up. Following that, Carlos Boozer fed Luol Deng for a right-wing jumper to give the Bulls a 4-2 lead. Boozer then got his own offense going to continue his offensive hot streak.
At one point, Chicago led 27-17. That lead would be cut in half as the Raptors came back near the end of the quarter. But Boozer’s 17 first quarter points assisted in maintaining the lead as the Bulls finished ahead 29-22.
During the second quarter, Toronto’s bench got the Raptors further into the game. While the Bulls held on to the lead nearly four minutes into the game, Chicago’s bench was being outworked. Toronto’s Alan Anderson and Kyle Lowry were playing well, and were big factors into why Tom Thibodeau turned to his starters to regain the lead.
This decision proved to be a good one as the starters, minus Richard Hamilton, aided in the Bulls’ efforts to retrieve the lead. The final buckets of the half were back-to-back-to-back field goals made by Boozer. As Chicago completed the second quarter with a 52-44 lead, Boozer finished with 25 points and 6 rebounds.
The third quarter opened well by the Bulls. They got on the board first after Noah made a pair of free throws to give Chicago a ten-point lead. Then, Boozer made a layup off of Hamilton’s assist. Following that Noah dished the ball inside to Kirk Hinrich for a layup in transition. Soon, the Bulls were ahead 58-44 forcing Toronto to take a timeout.
Hamilton had 13 points in the third quarter, but Marco Belinelli checked in for him with about three minutes left in the quarter despite the good play. At that point, Chicago had a thirteen-point lead. Before long, Lowry and Anderson were getting Toronto back into the game. While the Bulls still led at the end of the third, their lead had been cut down to six, 79-73.
Taj Gibson lengthened the lead for the Bulls at the start of the fourth quarter. He hit back-to-back layups giving Chicago an 83-73 lead. But there were Anderson and Lowry keeping their team alive. Their offense, again, allowed for a close game.
Boozer and Gibson both committed their fifth foul in the fourth quarter, making it more difficult for the Bulls to regain the lead. It was not of much help either that Hinrich not only picked up his fifth foul in the fourth, but also fouled out after a questionable call.
Chicago’s offense went cold during the last minute of the quarter. Thibodeau executed his usual offense-for-defense and vice versa substitutions while Lowry scored on pivotal shots, but it was Amir Johnson’s free throw that sent the game into overtime tied at 100.
Overtime lingered on with a combination of fouls and timeouts. The score remained close throughout the extra five minutes of play. The largest lead achieved was a two-point lead by the Bulls. Lowry and Anderson continued their offense while Belinelli acted as the primary ball handler for the Bulls.
The end finally came when Deng made a right-wing jumper with three seconds left in overtime. This shot gave the Bulls win number 22 and their fourth straight road win.
Despite a not as successful second half, Boozer led the Bulls with 36 points, 12 rebounds, and 3 assists, his 21st double-double of the season. Toronto was led by none other than Lowry’s 26 points, 5 rebounds, and 7 assists.
The Bulls return to the hardwood on Friday as they face the Boston Celtics in another road game at 6 PM CT.