The Chicago Bulls came out of the All-Star break strong with a 94-92 win over the Toronto Raptors in Toronto on Wednesday.
It was a close game towards the very end, but this wasn’t always the case. The Bulls actually held substantial leads at the start.
Chicago was very efficient on the offensive end to begin the game. Efficient interior scoring allowed for a 12-6 lead early on. The Raptors also shot well to start, but the Bulls were able to hold them to 21 points in the quarter despite their 55.6 percent shooting. The Bulls outdid the Raptors with 31 points on 52.2 percent shooting with Carlos Boozer’s nine points leading the way. Of the 12 shots Chicago made, nine came off of assists.
It was a slow start for both teams heading into the second quarter. The Bulls had steered away from what made them successful in the initial period: good ball movement and interior scoring. Neither team really got going until about five minutes had passed. Around this time, both Kyle Lowry and Terrence Ross got into an offensive rhythm. A three from Patrick Patterson cut down what was once a 15-point lead for Chicago to three points. A pair of buckets from Kirk Hinrich, however, brought the lead back up at halftime, 48-41.
The third quarter began similar to how the overall game did. Boozer, yet again, served as an offensive powerhouse with another nine points in the period, all of which game within the first half of the quarter. Following that, though, the Bulls really struggled to score. This allowed Toronto to go on a 7-0 run, but Chicago’s lead still stood at eight points.
Toronto fought back by making a run late into the final quarter. DeMar DeRozan initially started the comeback with nine points in about two minutes. A three from Lowry brought the score to 91-89, still in favor of Chicago. Hinrich extended the lead back to four by hitting a left-wing jumper with 41 seconds left in the game. Amir Johnson then proceeded to score on a three-point play.
After a shot clock violation by the Bulls, the Raptors had a chance to take the lead, and possibly the game, with their next possession. Jimmy Butler, however, acted as the defender Chicago has come to know him as by blocking DeRozan’s left-wing jumper attempt. He was then fouled by Lowry and split a pair of free throws, and the Bulls came away with the road win.
Although the Raptors put up 92 points, they were only held to 42.2 percent shooting. The Bulls, on the other hand, shot 50.0 percent from the field while making 58.3 percent from downtown. In the rebounding battle, the Bulls also came out on top 38-33.
Boozer led the Bulls, now 28-25, with 20 points, eight rebounds, one assist and one block. Hinrich also did well with 19 points, two rebounds, one steal and one block. D.J. Augustin added 19 points off the bench while Joakim Noah had 13 assists to go along with his eight points.
Next on Chicago’s schedule is a 7 p.m. home game against the Denver Nuggets on Friday.