Even if you go looking, you may never find an answer as to why the Bulls seem to have the Toronto Raptors’ number. Coming into last night’s game at the United Center against the team from the North, the Bulls had won the last 10 meetings.
The Bulls (27-29) would make it 11 wins in a row with their 105-94 victory on Tuesday.
“We just have their number,” said McDermott after the game, who had 20 points and led the team in scoring in his 32 minutes of play. What may come as even more of a surprise is Doug’s play over these last few meetings against Toronto. In the last four games, he’s averaged 24 points on 62% shooting from the field.
Dwyane Wade sat out for the second straight game due to the right wrist injury he sustained in the Friday night loss against the Phoenix Suns, Nikola Mirotic was out with a back injury and so was Paul Zipser with his ankle injury, so the Bulls needed something….anything to fill the void.
Part of that came by way of Jimmy Butler, who had missed four of his last five games due to a right heel injury. Butler chipped in 19 points and 12 assist in 37 minutes, which was in large to his 15-19 night at the charity stripe, as he had a horrendous night from the field going just 2-10.
The Bulls needed all 54 of the bench points they scored in order to hold off the Raptors in the 4th quarter, as they watched a lead that once ballooned to 23 points shrink to 6 with less than 7 minutes to go in regulation.
The team was aided by double digit output by Rondo (12 points) and Felicio (10 points), but also saw meaningful contributions from the likes of Bobby Portis and Denzel Valentine.
While the stats show that the bench dominated the overall outcome of the game, one of the Bulls starters is thinking bigger picture. “We just wanted to come in and set the tone. We understand there was only two home games left before we go to the (All-Star) break, but this one was a good start,” said Taj Gibson.
Looking at the grand scheme of things, this is only one game, only one victory. While the Bulls did end their 3- game losing streak, we will have to wait and see if this game was just one more one-night stand to add to the list or something that begins the start of an actual long term relationship.
The Bulls are back in action at the United Center tomorrow night against the Boston Celtics before heading to the All-Star break. (Series tied 1-1)
You can view the Bulls second half schedule here.