The Toronto Raptors visit the Bulls for the first time this season. Both Toronto small forwards were part of the Bulls roster, last year. James Johnson and Rasual Butler. JJ leads the Raptors in blocks and steals. He also played a big role in playing spoiler to the Bulls in a post-trade match-up last season.
The Raptor’s main threat, Andrea Bargnani, was out with a strained calf. In their last game without ‘Bargs’, Toronto still kept Indiana on their feet, and the Bulls have let bad teams stay in games for most of the year.
The Bulls continued their defensive domination in the first quarter, only to let Toronto back into the game in the 2nd quarter. At halftime, the game was tied at 37 all.
Despite sloppy play and poor shot selections, the Bulls managed to maintain a lead in the 3rd quarter. It wasn’t until the 4th, where Taj Gibson put on a clutch defensive display in the paint and Rose put on a clutch defensive display in the lanes, that the Bulls finally took over the game.
Gibson’s 4th quarter emergence started off with a feed from Derrick for a quick 2 handed jam. Then with the shot-clock winding down on the next drive, Derrick whipped a laser from mid-air to Taj for a 12ft buzzer beater. Gibson was pumped, and continued to grab second chance shots and make key stops on defense. Toronto had no answer. Their last hope was on James Johnson’s only steal, where the Raptors failed to convert on a 4-2 fast break.
The Bulls remain undefeated at home(5-0) and hold yet another opponent under 70 points as they win 77-64.
Joakim Noah played limited minutes, while nursing a thumb strain. He had a considerably better game, grabbing 12 boards in 26 minutes with no turnovers of fouls committed. While he recorded no official turnovers, he did cause the Bulls to give up possession on two easy rebounds. Boozer added a double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Derrick led all scores with 18, and 11 assists.
The Bulls defeat the Toronto Raptors 77-64 to move to 12-2 for the year.
Next Game: 12:00 noon on Monday the 16th at the Memphis Grizzlies.
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