Raptors’ 2nd-half surge falls short as Bulls’ DeRozan drops 29 on former team

DeMar DeRozan scored 29 points, Zach LaVine added 23 and the Chicago Bulls beat the Toronto Raptors 111-105 on Wednesday night.

Nikola Vucevic also scored 17 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, notching his fifth straight double-double and helping the Bulls win consecutive games for the first time since Jan. 7.

“Hopefully the last two games can give us an opportunity to get better,” Bulls coach Billy Donovan said. “God willing, our team stays the way it is with no more guys being out with COVID or injuries. There’s a lot of things that we can learn from this and get better from. This is the opportunity for our team to really grow.”

Gary Trent Jr. led the Raptors with 32 points, while OG Anunoby added 23 points. Toronto has lost six of its last nine games.

Trent scored 16 points in the third quarter, helping the Raptors trim their deficit to five. Anunoby hit a putback to bring Toronto within one in the fourth, eventually hammering home a dunk that gave the Raptors a 103-102 advantage with 3:11 remaining.

A LaVine layup and free throws from DeRozan pushed the Bulls back on top. Trent was then ejected after being called for his second technical foul of the game. LaVine hit the technical free throw and Vucevic followed with a three-pointer that sealed the victory for Chicago.

WATCH | Vucevic seals Bulls’ win:

Raptors fall as Vucevic’s dagger seals win for Bulls

Chicago beats Toronto 111-105, former Raptors DeMar DeRozan records 29 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. 0:35

DeRozan, who assisted on Vucevic’s game-sealing shot, had no doubt the Bulls big man would come through in the clutch.

“I don’t care how many shots he missed,” DeRozan said of Vucevic. “I don’t care if he’s struggled the game before, the quarter before. Every time I see him load it up, I’ve got the utmost confidence that it’s going to go in.”

DeRozan appeared to pick up two technical fouls in the final minutes of the third quarter. However, his first was deemed a non-unsportsmanlike technical foul for grabbing the net illegally while playing defence, which allowed him to stay in the game.

Chicago opened the game on a 14-2 run and didn’t miss a field goal attempt through the first six minutes. The Bulls finished the first quarter shooting 66.7 per cent from the floor.

“We certainly struggled early,” Toronto coach Nick Nurse said. “We made some adjustments, and the guys really executed them. You can’t fault our guys for the hustle and effort.”

Toronto erased a 14-point deficit in the second, completing a 19-5 run punctuated by a Malachi Flynn three-pointer and a driving layup from Chris Boucher. The Bulls bounced back thanks to a combined 18 second-quarter points from LaVine and DeRozan. Chicago outscored the Raptors 26-9 through the final six minutes of the quarter and carried a 67-50 advantage into halftime.



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