The last time these two teams faces, James Johnson was just traded to Toronto for a draft pick. Johnson barely saw action for the Bulls, and in a matter of a day, became the Raptors starting small forward. James Johnson sparked his new team to upset the Bulls in a game that should have been an easy win. Derrick Rose and company took note and did not want anything to do with a repeat of the prior loss.
Carlos Boozer continued to demand a larger role to start the game. Boozer was out of rhythm and shooting jumpers early with little success. However his presence still granted the wings open looks, and the ability to stay in front on transition.
The game moved slowly in the 1st, with the Bulls capitalizing in the final minute on second chance points. Ronnie Brewer played outstanding defense as usual, although he turned two alley-oops into plain old oops. He went to the line for the second attempt to make up for the ugly miss. The Bulls lead by 10 at the half.
James Johnson started the second half fired up. He made a few baskets, and it looked like he was going to make the Bulls regret the trade. Sadly for him, What must up, must come down. He started to get sloppy. Where he let up, Jerryd Bayless picked up.
Play after play, Bayless recklessly drove and took difficult shots with impressive success. After a few quick points, Derrick Rose put his game into another gear and flew past defenders on every side of the court. It was back and fourth for the remainder of the 3rd quarter, and an incredible show for those who love watching fast paced basketball. Bayless finished with 26 points and eventually ran out of gas.
The Raptors kept chipping away, but they could not come closer than 4 points behind. Rose, Brewer, and Taj Gibson came up big all night to kill JJ’s upset hopes.
The Bulls win, 113-106.
Derrick Rose finished with 36 points on 11/20FG, 10 assists, 3 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 1 steal. 2 of the 3 blocks were on James Johnson.
Boozer finished with 18pts/10reb
Taj had 15pts/9reb
Johnson finished with 7pts/5reb/6ast in 22 minutes.
The Bulls will face the Phoenix Suns at home on Tuesday.
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