While the injury-plagued Chicago Bulls are enduring a rough
stretch, they’re hoping a thrilling win will propel them going
The new-look Toronto Raptors also found a way to get it done
their last time out.
The Bulls try to make it two in a row for the first time in
nearly a month Saturday night against the visiting Raptors.
Chicago (9-12) had been limited to an average of 75.7 points
during a three-game skid before winning 91-90 at Milwaukee on
Friday. Joakim Noah led the way with season highs of 21 points and
18 rebounds and Mike Dunleavy banked in a go-ahead 3-pointer with
5.8 seconds left.
“You could see his rhythm coming offensively,” coach Tom
Thibodeau said of Noah. “Defensively, he’s been terrific from the
start of the season but offensively, you can see his timing is
Jimmy Butler added 16 points in his first game back since
missing 11 with a toe injury. The Bulls, who went 2-9 during
Butler’s absence, have won six straight when he takes the
“I felt all right,” said Butler, averaging a team-leading 1.9
steals. “Rusty. Out of shape. Terrible. But I’m glad my guys pulled
this win out.”
While the Bulls are glad to have Butler back, leading scorer
Luol Deng (19.4 points per game) missed his fourth consecutive
contest due to a sore left Achilles and is uncertain to be
available Saturday. Chicago also continues to play without Derrick
Rose, who is out for the year with a torn meniscus.
The Bulls, who haven’t posted back-to-back victories since a
five-game winning streak Nov. 8-18, have taken nine of 12 from the
Raptors. Deng and Noah combined for 37 points and 18 rebounds in a
96-80 win at Toronto on Nov. 15.
The Raptors (8-13), though, are seeking a third win in four
games after beating Philadelphia 108-100 on Friday. DeMar DeRozan
had 27 points and Terrence Ross scored 24 – two shy of his career
high – while making his second consecutive start.
“Talk about bouncy athletes,” 76ers coach Brett Brown said of
Ross and DeRozan. “They’re hard guards, they’re really difficult
people to defend.”
Kyle Lowry dished out 11 of the team’s season high-tying 24
assists while Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas combined for 29
points and 25 boards.
Greivis Vasquez, acquired from Sacramento this week as part of
the Rudy Gay trade, scored 12 in 17 minutes off the bench in his
“It’s always good when you come to a new place and you get a
win,” Vasquez said. “We still have a long way to go. I still have
to get the timing and get to know my guys’ tendencies and all that
stuff, but I’m exited.
“If we keep doing what we did tonight, we’re going to be really
hard to guard and we’re going to win a lot of games.”
Fellow newcomers John Salmons and Patrick Patterson also
debuted, finishing with a combined eight points on 2-of-8
“I like what I saw, and going forward they’re going to mix in
quite well,” coach Dwane Casey said.
DeRozan, who matched a career high with 37 points against the
Bulls last month, is averaging 22.8 and shooting 50.7 percent in
his last eight games in the series.
The Raptors are 8-4 when holding opponents to 100 points or
fewer. Chicago ranks 28th in the league with 92.3 points per