Raptors storm back to win against Bulls
Kamil Krzaczynski - USA Today Sports

Raptors storm back to win against Bulls

by - Senior Writer -

CHICAGO - At this point in the NBA season, every win is crucial for teams battling for a playoff spot, and the same can be said for the Chicago Bulls (22-26). In what could be said as a must-win game or at least a must-win set of back-to-back games, these are the games the Bulls need to have down the stretch as they welcomed the Toronto Raptors (17-30) to the United Center Tuesday.

What looked to be one of those games with the Bulls leading by double digits at the break turned sour quickly as the Bulls forgot how to play defense in the second half and saw the Toronto offense look like an all-star team. The Raptors outscored the Bulls 37-26 in the third quarter to take a one-point lead, and they outscored the Bulls by 10 in the fourth to outscore the Bulls 65-44 in the second half. That alone was enough for the Raptors to mount a comeback and hand the Bulls a disappointing 118-107 defeat.

To make matters worse, the Bulls found out before the game that Patrick Williams will miss two weeks with a foot injury adding another player to an injured list that features Zach Lavine and Torrey Craig. With injuries comes new opportunities for fresh faces, and the rookie Julian Phillips will get some opportunities, especially coming off his 11-point effort against Portland. He followed that up with nine more points on Tuesday and is starting to show the potential the Bulls saw in him.

When discussing opportunities, look no further than Ayo Dosunmu, who took over for Williams in the starting lineup. Dosunmu is having his best season so far of his career, and it isn't even close, but the past two weeks have really stood out. Coming off of one of his best games against Portland, Dosunmu upped the ante to have his best game of the season to finish with 21 points on Tuesday.

He made an excellent duo with Demar DeRozan, who posted another day-at-the-office type of game against his former team with a team-high 25 points. Most of the Bulls production came from the starting five as all five starters landed in double figures. Those were the only two with 20 points, but Chicago continues to get production across the board.

Nikola Vucevic continued his consistent play with a 14-point and nine-rebound performance, while Coby White suffered through one of his worst games in over a month with 13 points. Alex Caruso chipped in with 11 points as those guys tried to give the Bulls as much production as possible. Along with Phillips and his nine points off the bench, Andre Drummond added seven points and seven boards, with Dalen Terry and Jevon Carter adding four and three. Terry left the game in the second half with an ankle injury, adding another player to the list of injured players.

Although the Raptors are heading for their worst season in a decade and on the verge of missing the playoffs, you have to credit them for handling things this season. With Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, and Pascal Siakam all traded or signed within the past six months, their roster has gone through a significant overhaul as they try to create a new identity.

RJ Barrett has given this team a boost since coming over in the Anunoby trade, but with him out of the lineup Tuesday, the Raptors were looking for more production. Leave it to Gary Trent Jr for that as he torched the Bulls. On the strength of his six-made triples, Trent Jr finished with 24 points. If he could play the Bulls 82 times a season, Trent would be in the MVP conversation, as he averages the most points of any team against the Bulls.

With Trent lighting things up from distance, it opened things up inside for several other players who went on to have great games. Bruce Brown came through with 19 points, while Dennis Schroeder dished out a great 16-point and 10-assist performance. Former Bull Thaddeus Young also dropped 16 points as his departure continues to haunt this team.

Scottie Barnes (13 points) and Jordan Nwora (17 points) were the Raptors' productive scorers, with Nwora doing his damage off the bench. Despite the loss, one positive takeaway from this game was the way the Bulls defended Barnes, as he has been on quite a roll this season. Chicago returns to the court Wednesday for the second part of a back-to-back against Charlotte.


It's no secret that the Windy City Bulls (4-9) have been struggling during the regular portion of the schedule, but some of that isn't their fault. Phillips and Terry were a big part of their success during the showcase portion of the schedule, but with both sitting on the Bulls bench right now, Adama Sanogo is their primary option.

However, with Sanogo one of three players not with the team, it was an unlikely hero coming to the rescue as Quenton Jackson carried the Bulls to a 117-104 victory over the Birmingham Squadron (7-7). This was coming off an overtime loss against the same team on Sunday after the Bulls had the advantage most of the game.

Jackson had a phenomenal showing and picked the perfect time for his best game as a Windy City player. With their best player out of the lineup, Jackson took it upon himself to carry the team with a game-high 40 points while picking up nine rebounds and dishing out five assists. Six other double-digit players backed Jackson, but he was the only one with 20 points.

Scottie Lindsey and Chris Clemons added 13 points to the starting lineup, with James adding 10 points and 11 boards. Windy City also saw Ben Coupet Jr come away with 11 points off the bench, along with Gilyard and his 16, to give the Bulls plenty of balance across the board.

When it comes to Birmingham, Jalen Crutcher (21 points) and Devin Cannady (19 points) gave the Squadron a nice duo that continued to produce. The Squadron also saw Izaiah Brockington grab 15 points, with Landers Nolley matching that with 15 points off the bench. Coming off his massive showing on Sunday, Dereon Seabron was kept in check with 13 points as the Bulls delivered an all-around impressive win.

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