After three days, the Chicago Bulls finally returned to competition as they visited the Toronto Raptors on Friday night. The Bulls were able to overcome their hiatus with their first road win, 96-80.
Derrick Rose sat out during Chicago’s first game of its back-to-back series with a sore hamstring. Rose suffered the injury this past Monday in the Bulls’ 96-81 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Kirk Hinrich started in his place.
Despite Rose’s absence, Chicago fared perfectly fine against Toronto. Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng both got going very early on, as the former Duke Blue Devils each went 4-7 in the first quarter along. On the defensive end, the Bulls made their presence known holding the Raptors to 18 points in the initial period with eight of them coming from within the paint.
In the second quarter, the Bulls continued to have their way, and they just brought more of the same offensive dominance they did the first 12 minutes of the game. Chicago came in with an 11-point lead, which grew to as much as 19 points. Marquis Teague played the majority of his eight total minutes in this quarter, in which he was aggressive and scored four points.
Towards the conclusion of the first half, the Raptors went on a little run, but they were unable to carry that momentum into the third quarter.
Chicago outscored Toronto 15 to 4 in the the first half of the third period. The Bulls were finally able to get some three-pointers to fall while Boozer and Deng continued to dominate. However, the Raptors eventually got going a bit thanks to DeMar DeRozan’s takeover. In the last three minutes of the quarter, DeRozan scored 11 points, cutting Chicago’s lead down to 20 points, 74-54.
Unlike the third quarter, Toronto, or rather DeRozan, was able to use his momentum to continue his offensive game in the final period. This time, DeRozan received some help. Both he and Rudy Gay had 12 fourth quarter-points. The only problem was the deficit was too much for the Raptors. The duo couldn’t do enough to stop the Bulls.
As for the Bulls themselves, 12 of their 22 fourth quarter-points came as a result of three-pointers.
All of Chicago’s starters scored in double digits with Deng’s 19 points leading the way. To go along with the 19 points, Deng added 9 rebounds. Noah followed up with 18 points and 9 rebounds. Butler and Boozer had 14 points apiece while Hinrich added 12 of his own.
This win over Toronto was the first game of Chicago’s first back-to-back series of this season. On Saturday night, the Bulls will be back at the United Center to face the Indiana Pacers at 7 p.m. central.