Game 54: Chicago Bulls (28-26) defeat Toronto Raptors (35-18), 116-106
February 19, 2016
United Center – Chicago
The Bulls had a poor defensive first quarter, allowing the Raptors to put up 35 points in just the first quarter alone. But the Bulls didn’t let that hinder them.
In the second quarter, the Bulls’ bench outperformed the Raptors 28-23. Doug McDermott and Bobby Portis did most of the grunt work, combining for 18 of the Bulls’ 28 second-quarter points. Portis, in particular, put up five points in the last 13 seconds of the first half, helping the Bulls cut what was once a double-digit deficit down to an eight-point, 58-52 deficit.
That momentum really helped the Bulls heading into the third quarter. It was clearly the Bulls’ best offensive period: They went on a 12-0 run to take the 72-69 lead. But that run was just one key part in the Bulls going on to score a whopping 37 points in the quarter to not only take the lead but also to take a significant lead over the Raptors.
Those 37 points put the Bulls in a good position heading into the final 12 minutes of the game.
With McDermott leading the way, the Bulls built upon their lead more, gaining a double-digit lead, but the Raptors weren’t going anywhere. The Raptors gradually cut down the Bulls’ lead in the latter end of the fourth quarter; however, they couldn’t get enough offense of their own nor could they slow down the Bulls.
Simply put, the Raptors had dug themselves into too big of a hole after the Bulls’ 37-point third quarter.
Player of the Game
McDermott had the best game of his career Friday night. In 30 minutes, the second-year forward out of Creighton put up a new career-high 30 points on 13-for-17 shooting, scoring in a variety of ways: going 4-of-5 on 3-pointers, making midrange shots, getting to the basket and even a dunk. McDermott, who came off the bench, was also the game’s leading scorer.
Pau Gasol had a near triple-double of 18 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists.
Derrick Rose played aggressively and set the tone for his team to start the game. He finished with 26 points on 12-for-20 shooting, three rebounds and six assists.
The Bulls bench performed much like the Bench Mob from the early days of the Tom Thibodeau-era on Friday night. They combined for 49 total points, led by McDermott’s 30, accounting for 42 percent of the Bulls’ points.
The Chicago Tribune‘s K.C. Johnson pointed out that the Bulls’ 32 assists from their win over the Raptors is a season-high. With such a high number of assists, it’s clear the Bulls’ offense was working well rather than being inefficient as it had been.
The Bulls had just nine turnovers in their win over the Raptors. They came into Friday’s game averaging 14.2 turnovers, and those turnovers have contributed to the Bulls’ recent downfalls. That being said, it just goes to show how much of a difference those turnovers can make.
The Bulls will host Kobe Bryant for one last time Sunday evening when the Los Angeles Lakers visit the United Center.
Ashley is the owner/editor of The Bulls Charge. Follow her on Twitter at @wijangco12.