By Richard Kagan
The Chicago Bulls have had a down and up season via a losing streak followed by winning streak. Now, the Bulls are on another 3 game losing streak, falling to the Toronto Raptors, 124-115.
Chicago was in this game, until they weren’t. The Bulls were leading 92-90 early in the fourth quarter but Toronto went on a 16-2 run and that put it away.
Three Bulls scored at least 20 points, but that was overshadowed by DeMar DeRozan’s 35 points. DeRozan flashed 52 points vs. the Milwaukee Bucks on New Year’s Day; and, he found the touch vs. the Bulls.
DeRozan scored 18 points in the third quarter to keep the Raptors in the hunt until it went on their long run in the fourth quarter. The Bulls lost a few close ones to the Wizards and to the TrailBlazers. But this game seemed to get away from Chicago.
Justin Holiday scored 26 and converted six of nine three point shots. Lauri Markkanen scored 22 and had 12 rebounds. Niko Mirotic scored 20 points in a solid effort. Denzel Valentine added 14 points. In all, six Bulls scored in double-figures but it wasn’t enough.
Guard Delon Wright scored 25 points for the Raptors and hauled in 13 rebounds. It was his first career double-double. Kyle Lowry scored 16 along with Serge Ibaka’s 16 points and the Raptors had enough to pull away for the W. The Bulls didn’t play that bad. The Raptors got a great game from DeRozan and the bench came up big for one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference.
Ten points (in the first quarter), we had a lead,” said Denzel Valentine. The Bulls did have a ten point lead but Toronto chipped away. They shot 49% from the floor. And out-rebounded Chicago, 49-43. In the second half, the Raptors outscored Chicago 68-56.
The Bulls had turned heads in the League with its recent winning ways. But, the losses are starting to build up again.
Zach LaVine is expected to rejoin the team after the short upcoming road trip. He was the key part of the Jimmy Butler deal. If LaVine can return successfully from his knee injury that has kept him of out basketball for the last 9 months, the Bulls will have certainly have a new look.
Chicago is still a young team and is learning how to win. Sometimes, a game gets away and then you get out and play the next one.