Bulls Battle Raptors In Toronto
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(WSCR) – Carlos Boozer’s return has sparked the Bulls to a hot streak. They’ve won six of their last eight games, including six in a row. With Derrick Rose playing banged up, the Bulls will rely more on Boozer, Luol Deng, Kyle Korver and other to pick up some of the slack.
Mentally, the Chicago Bulls are feeling good about their recent play.
Physically, Rose is not doing as well.
The Bulls hope to have the banged-up All-Star in the lineup as they try to extend their season-high winning streak to seven games Wednesday night against the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre.
Averaging career highs with 24.7 points and 8.3 assists, Rose had 17 and 12 in Monday’s 92-73 win over Indiana. However, he fell hard after making contact with the Pacers’ Brandon Rush while driving to the basket in the fourth quarter.
Though X-rays on his wrist were negative, Rose hopes to play while continuing to deal with a sprained right wrist, bruised right elbow and sore right hip.
“He’s a little nicked up,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He’s got a little soreness in the elbow and a little soreness in the wrist. If he says he can play, he’ll play.”
Rose, averaging 22.0 points on 57.4-percent shooting and 8.0 assists in four career games at Toronto, is confident he’ll be on the floor Wednesday.
“If it’s up to me, I’m going,” Rose said. “If it’s sore, usually I can play through soreness. Hopefully I’ll be playing (Wednesday).”
If he is unable to go, C.J. Wilson will start at point guard. With Rose out with a sore neck, Watson scored 33 points in a 98-97 loss at Denver on Nov. 26.
With or without their star guard, the Bulls (15-8) appear to have a good chance for their first seven-game winning streak since Nov. 25-Dec. 8, 2008.
Chicago’s opponents have averaged 88.0 points on 39.6-percent shooting over the last six games. Monday’s contest marked the third straight in which the Bulls held their opponent to a season-worst scoring total.
“They’re a really good defensive team,” Indiana guard Mike Dunleavy said.
The Bulls limited the Raptors to 41.1 percent from the field in a 104-88 win at Toronto in the teams’ most recent meeting April 11.
Carlos Boozer, who had 22 points and 18 rebounds against the Pacers, has averaged 23.3 and 13.0 in his last seven games versus Toronto. He’s averaging 15.5 points and 8.0 rebounds in eight games since missing the first month with a broken hand.
“You can really see his timing coming back,” Thibodeau said.
Boozer’s surge could continue that success against a Raptors club that allows 105.2 points per contest.
Toronto (9-16) played better defensively Tuesday but fell for the fifth time in six games, 97-91 at Charlotte.
After rallying from 25 points down and shooting a season-high 62.9 percent in a 120-116 win at Detroit on Saturday for the largest comeback victory in franchise history, the Raptors made 40.4-percent of their shots and committed 19 turnovers against the Bobcats.
“It’s real frustrating,” said swingman DeMar DeRozan, who had 14 points Tuesday. “Teams these days are too good, and when you turn over the ball, it’s a good chance they will go down and make something happen.”
Jerryd Bayless had 17 points with nine assists after scoring 31 against the Pistons.
The Raptors could be without point guard Jose Calderon for a fourth consecutive game because of a sore left foot.
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