Chicago Bulls at Toronto Raptors: Analysis of the Bulls blowing their streak against the Raps

Mar 21, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Chicago Bulls guard Rajon Rondo (9) knocks the ball away from Toronto Raptors forward Serge Ibaka (9) during the first half at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 21, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Chicago Bulls guard Rajon Rondo (9) knocks the ball away from Toronto Raptors forward Serge Ibaka (9) during the first half at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Chicago Bulls had a chance to extend their winning streak to 12 against the Toronto Raptors, all while vying for a playoff spot. It was going great  … until it wasn’t. Here’s a breakdown of what happened on Tuesday night in Toronto.

First Quarter

Rajon Rondo, Rajon Rondo, and more Rajon Rondo.

At one point, the veteran point guard simply couldn’t be stopped on the offensive end of the floor.

It’s worth mentioning that he was 2-for-2 from behind the arc. The reason behind that? The Toronto Raptors.

Without Kyle Lowry‘s defensive ability to stop the ball, Cory Joseph was stuck on an island guarding the streaky Rondo.

Jimmy Butler held his own as well. He scored 10 points, and (of course) was glued to the free throw line for a perfect 6-for-6 shooting clip.

The Bulls shot as great as 72 percent in the quarter.

End of 1st: Bulls were taking it to the Raps, 31-27

Second Quarter

A brief run from the second unit, including a 3-pointer from Denzel Valentine lifted the Bulls to a quick 39-29 lead. It’s fair to say that Valentine has been showing solid progression every night out. This is just what the Bulls need if they want to make the sought after playoff push.

Late in the quarter, the Raptors made a surge to cut the Bulls’ lead down to six, 51-45. Rondo came out of the timeout and hit another 3-pointer to halt the run, his 15th point of the game.

You can see the improvement Rondo strives to achieve. One of the more knowledgeable veterans on the roster, he recognizes the work a former champion has to put in to make teams better.

It starts with this.

Rondo? Shooting 3s this well? March Madness.

Halftime: Bulls held on for a 59-54 lead

Third Quarter

The quarter stayed close for the most part. Then, Niko Mirotic came along.

Mirotic buried a couple of contested 3s from the left wing, sparking a Bulls run to extend the lead to 75-66.

Welcome back.

Out of the timeout, Rondo hits yet another 3-pointer. Shortly after this moment, sparks flew and emotions ran high.

As the Bulls took a game-high 16 point lead off a Butler 3-pointer, Robin Lopez and Serge Ibaka got tangled up under the rim. Lopez took exception to a push by Ibaka, and smacked the ball out of his hands.

Real fisticuffs occurred as Lopez threw a punch. Ibaka retaliated with a punch of his own. Neither player landed a punch, but fists were thrown regardless.

This Bulls season just got exciting again.

Both Lopez and Ibaka ended up getting ejected for the scuffle and will hear from the league relatively soon.

Meanwhile, Rondo had scored a season-high 22 points up to this point.

End of 3rd: Bulls chugging along, 94-79

Fourth Quarter

The Bulls conjured up an interesting lineup of Michael Carter-Williams, Denzel Valentine, Paul Zipser, Bobby Portis, and Cristiano Felicio.

Carter-Williams banked in a 3-pointer towards the end of the shot clock. Clear indication that this game was all but over.

Felicio rose up for an open layup when he was blocked by the Raptors’ Patrick Patterson. He took a hard fall, practically gliding in mid-air to drop on his back. He remained stationary on the ground for a few minutes before finally getting helped up.

Because of the injury, Joffrey Lauvergne was given the nod to check in.

Zipser reached double figures in scoring for the seventh time this season, including this dazzling attack to the rim:

The rookie has been playing patient offense and taking high percentage shots.

However, that didn’t persist.

The Raptors went on a late run of their own, thanks to P.J. Tucker hitting a couple of 3s in the corner. The Bulls’ 15 point lead was trimmed down to just six, 109-103.

The Raps went on a 13-0 run as the Bulls went scoreless for five minutes.

Very scrappy play from the Bulls resulted in them throwing the ball away, taking quick ill-advised shots, the offense was just  all bad.

Butler finally ended the scoring drought with 1:34 left in the game to eclipse the 30-point mark. He then disappeared the next possession with an air ball that sailed out of bounds.

DeMar DeRozan then drew an and-one layup on Butler, but failed to convert the free throw to take the lead.


End of 4th: Raps surge to force overtime, tied at 113


Butler opened the overtime period with a quick bucket, then the Bulls consistently bricked every shot thereafter.

DeRozan posted up Rondo on a switch and splashed the turnaround jump shot for the Raptors’ first lead of the game, 117-115.

Patrick Patterson beat the Bulls on the boards off a missed DeRozan layup to tip in a four point lead, 119-115.

The Bulls finally gave up their win streak against the Raptors as the retro “Huskies” take it 122-120.

Did the Bulls lose or did the Raptors win?

It seems the Bulls lost themselves before they lost the actual game.

Jimmy Butler scored 37 as Derozan fought back to score 42. (You can check out the box score here.)

Next Game

The Bulls hope to bounce back Wednesday night against the Detroit Pistons at home to keep their playoff push alive.