The Chicago Bulls entered Saturday’s game against the Toronto Raptors on a two-game winning streak, beating the Cavaliers and the Hornets earlier in the week. They looked to stretch their streak to three and go undefeated in the first week of the new year. However, going up against the second-best team in the East wouldn’t make that an easy feat for the Bulls.
The first quarter was a back and forth contest between the two teams as they traded leads throughout the quarter, with Chicago coming out with a 29-28 lead. But the second quarter would prove to be a completely different story. A couple minutes into the quarter, the Raptors went on an 18 to five run and led by as much as 12. The Chicago defense had troubles guarding, as a plentiful a Raptors’ players found themselves with scoring opportunities. Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, and Joseph Valanciunas combined for 20 points in the second quarter on 58% shooting from the field. But the Bulls’ problems were far from just defensive. They struggled to hit shots all quarter long as they shot a dreadful 29% from the field. Even the stars of the team, Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade, struggled to hit shots. Combined, they shot 28% from the field. By the end of the quarter, the Raptors outscored the Bulls 33-19 and held a 61-48 lead at the half.
In the third quarter, the lead for the Raptors got as big as 19 with four minutes left in the third. It looked as if the Raptors would run away with the game. But, just in the knick of time, fourth quarter Jimmy came and made a huge change. With a little over seven minutes left in the fourth, the Bulls got hot and went on an 18 to three run to take a 101-99 lead with three minutes left. Within that run, Jimmy put up 10 of the Bulls’ 18 points. From that point on it was a back and forth game. With 40 seconds remaining Doug McDermott hit a three-pointer to give the Bulls a 107-105 lead. Then, DeRozan went to the free-throw line with 30 seconds left and tied the game up at 107, ultimately sending the game into overtime. In OT the Bulls took control. They led the entire OT period, and Jimmy Butler sealed the win with a step-back three to put the Bulls up 121-116 with 17 seconds left. They ended up winning the game 123-118 behind Jimmy Butler’s 42 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and three steals. Dwyane Wade also put up 20 points and 7 assists. Off the bench, Doug McDermott put up 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Nikola Mirotic put up 12 points and nine rebounds. For the Raptors, DeMar DeRozan dropped 36 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Kyle Lowry put up 27 points, 12 assists, and nine rebounds.
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