League-Best Bulls Beat Raptors 77-64
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CHICAGO (AP) — Derrick Rose had 18 points and 11 assists, leading the Chicago Bulls to a 77-64 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Saturday night.
Rose keyed a seven-point burst to open the fourth period, assisting on three straight field goals. John Lucas III hit a 3-pointer and Taj Gibson scored twice, opening up an 11-point lead for Chicago.
Carlos Boozer added 17 points and Luol Deng had 14 points for Chicago, which won its fifth straight and improved to a league-best 12-2. Taj Gibson scored nine of his 11 points in the fourth.
The Bulls are 5-0 at home for the first time since opening the 1996-97 season with seven straight wins at the United Center. Chicago has held its opponents to just 66.8 points game on its home court.
DeMar DeRozan and Leandro Barbosa scored 15 points each for Toronto, which dropped its fourth straight.
Chicago was played its ninth game in 12 days, something the Bulls hadn’t done since 1972. Chicago is 8-1 over that span.
Toronto played for the seventh time in nine nights.
Chicago led by four entering the fourth quarter, an unusually close game for a team that had won all four of its home games by an average of 20 points per game.
Rose took over with his playmaking, scoring just two points but notching five assists in the final period as Chicago went on a 19-6 run to start the period.
The Raptors didn’t score from the foul line until Linas Kleiza made a free throw with 7:14 to go in the fourth. Toronto was just 1 for 7 from the line in game and was whistled for 15 fouls to only seven for Chicago.
Chicago shot 55 percent and led by 13 points in the opening period, but fell flat in the second, shooting just 30 percent from the floor.
Former Bulls player James Johnson capped a 10-2 second quarter surge with a jumper, putting Toronto ahead. Johnson scored 10 points in the first half, surpassing his season high of eight points for a full game.
Rose scored seven points in the first quarter and keyed a nine-point run with a pullup 3-pointer in transition as Chicago jumped out to a 23-14 lead.
The game was tied 37-all at the break and the pace didn’t pick up much in the third. Rose scored seven points in the period, but both teams shot under 40 percent.
NOTES: Bulls guards Richard Hamilton (sore left groin) and C.J. Watson (left elbow strain) each missed the game. Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said he wants to avoid pushing Hamilton, who has missed eight of Chicago’s last nine games, into action until the 13-year veteran is completely healed. . Watson may return to action as soon as Monday. Thibodeau said he’d like for Watson to go through at least one practice before playing in a game. . The Raptors played without leading scorer Andrea Bargnani for the second straight game because of a left calf strain. Coach Dwane Casey said Bargnani, who is averaging a career-best 22.3 points per game, is as day to day but his injury is not as serious as the Raptors initially feared. . With backup point guard Jerryd Bayless still out with a sprained left ankle, Casey said he will continue to mix wing player Gary Forbes in at the position. . Neither team made a free throw until Chicago’s Carlos Boozer sank one to complete a three-point play with 9:41 to go in the third quarter.
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