He scored 29 points to lead Chicago to a win over the Toronto Raptors, 108-92. Mirotic, the NBA rookie from Real Madrid, is averaging 20.8 points and 8.2 rebounds in March and he tied his career high, which he set earlier this month vs. the LA Clippers.
Joakim Noah also had quite a game. He was two points shy of a triple-double, in scoring 8, making a career-high 14 assists, and hauling in 10 rebounds. When Noah is playing at this level, he is capable of carrying the team. The Bulls also got a solid game from F Mike Dunleavy who scored 21 points. He appears to be finding his rhythm which is a good sign for the Bulls.
The win puts he Bulls a half game better than Toronto in the quest for the third seed in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls and Raptors meet each other again shortly.
This game was also notable with the return of key reserve F Taj Gibson. Gibson, who missed 10 games due to a left ankle sprain, returned to the court to an ovation with 4:03 left in the first quarter. He showed his ankle was good when he dunked on a nice pass from Pau Gasol. Gibson scored 6 points in 10+ minutes.
Gasol was one of five Bulls in double figures with 11 points and 9 boards.
Toronto played without Kyle Lowry, the all-star guard who was nursing a sore back. DeMar DeRozan had 27 points for the Raptors.
Chicago shot 53% from the field and connected on 15-17 free-throw attempts. Chicago played like it wanted this game. The team looked focused and passed the ball well, generating 32 assists.
Slowly, it seems, the Bulls are heading toward a full playing squad. Jimmy Butler is expected to re-join the team on Saturday. Derrick Rose could be a few weeks away from returning.
One thing is for sure, the Bulls have depth and the bench has been tested. Perhaps this bodes well for Chicago in the remaining regular season games.