Chicago Bulls vs. Toronto Raptors: Analysis from another near breakdown

Feb 14, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson (22) goes in for a lay up against Toronto Raptors center Jakob Poeltl (42) during the first half at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 14, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson (22) goes in for a lay up against Toronto Raptors center Jakob Poeltl (42) during the first half at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports /

The Chicago Bulls came back home after a four-game road trip against the Toronto Raptors looking for a win. The Raptors haven’t won a game against the Bulls since New Year’s Eve in 2013. Can the streak continue?

Must Read: Bulls shopping Lopez and McDermott

Quick housekeeping rules: Here’s the Chicago Bulls injury report as of tonight. Jimmy Butler did indeed play.

First Quarter

As always, Taj Gibson came out the gate with a quick start offensively with eight quick points. Robin Lopez came out with a sluggish 0-for-4 start, but stepped up tallying five rebounds.

He also pulled this block from his defensive repertoire:

In Jimmy Butler‘s return to action, he chipped in five points, three assists, and two steals in the first quarter.

Bobby Portis played some good minutes, which allowed him to contribute five points and a block.

End of 1st: Bulls were up 24-18

Second Quarter

Doug McDermott, as quiet as he could possibly be on the court, got smacked with a technical foul within the first minute.

The Bulls were annihilating the Raptors off the bench. By the 7:30 mark, the Bulls bench were already outscoring the Raptors bench 19-5.

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With a struggling DeMar DeRozan shooting 1-for-8, the Bulls capitalized and picked up the pace offensively. Midway through the second quarter, they were outscoring the Raptors 12-0 on the fast break.

The Bulls kept up their style of play with the absence of newly traded Terrence Ross, ending the half with the fast break points advantage of 18-2. The Raptors racked up 18 turnovers for 15 Bulls points.

Chicago scored on 51.2 percent shooting from the field, including four 3-pointers. The Toronto 3-point makes remained stagnant at zero.

Rajon Rondo displayed some offensive prowess in the first half. He scored 10 points, all in the second quarter. He also shot a perfect 2-for-2 from 3-point range, making half of the Bulls’ 3s.

Let’s not forget this filthy crossover:

Tremendous job being an offensive spark plug, Rondo.

Halftime: Bulls pulled away to a 58-39 lead

Third Quarter

Here’s some rather interesting insight on the Raptors superstars’ struggles, courtesy of K.C. Johnson:

In the curious case of the Toronto Raptors, it seems like the Bulls are either their Kryptonite, or the Raptors really are struggling at this point in the season.

The good guys kept a 20 point lead for basically the entire quarter. Thanks to the shooting of Dougie Fresh, the 3-point discrepancy grew larger in favor of the Bulls.

Enough said there.

Here’s to hoping the Bulls could hold this double digit lead to put the Raptors away.

End of 3rd: Bulls kept holding on 78-64

Fourth Quarter

The Bulls couldn’t hold the double digit lead to put the Raptors away. Bulls fans quickly watched their 23-point lead wither away into the dust. The lead was cut down to single digits with 7:42 left.

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The last few pivotal minutes pushed the Bulls into a frenzy to extend the lead again.

However, Kyle Lowry happened.

Lowry scored six straight points in a 30 second time frame for the Raptors. And again, the Bulls panicked.

Michael Carter-Williams continued to draw offensive fouls upon himself. These boneheaded turnovers allowed the dismal shooting Raptors roar their way back into the final parts of the game.

The Bulls entered panic mode in a desperation attempt to sway the momentum:

That’s exactly what happened. Butler drew every foul every way possible to find himself at the free throw line. Despite a 2-for-10 night from the field, his aggressiveness led him to 19 free throw attempts on a 19-point game. Butler also tied his career-high in assists at 12 tonight. Way to facilitate.

Huge shout out to Doug McBuckets, who scored 20 points on 8-for-13 shooting off the bench.

Final Score: Bulls hang on to win 105-94 (check out the box score here)

Happy Valentine’s Day, Bulls fans! You get a win, and you get a win (if you want them)!

Next Game

Check out the Bulls as they host the Boston Celtics on Thursday night, courtesy of TNT.

Tip off is at 7:10 p.m. CST.