Bill Smith/Chicago Bulls

Bulls beat Raptors 104-97

Bulls improve to 17-12

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By Sam Smith | 12.28.2015 | 9:25 p.m.

The Bulls Monday got a career fourth quarter from Tony Snell with 16 points and pulled away from the Toronto Raptors for a 104-97 victory.

Snell scored 22 points off the bench in a huge reserve effort as Aaron Brooks had 17 points and Bobby Portis 12 points and nine rebounds. The reserves played the bulk of the fourth quarter and proved too much for the tough Raptors.

The Bulls went to 17-12 and Toronto fell to 19-13.

The Bulls also got 22 points from Pau Gasol. Derrick Rose had a strong game with 20 points and three of five three pointers. But he sat out the majority of the fourth quarter as coach Fred Hoiberg wisely stayed with the hot reserves. Kyle Lowry scored 28 for Toronto.

The Bulls got some bad news after warmups as Doug McDermott turned out to be a no go with more issues with his right knee. That got Tony Snell back in after being out two of the last three games. The Bulls got a fast start from Rose with a block on Lowry which Rose turned into a driving score and seven points as the Bulls led 16-15 seven minutes into the game. But the Raptors movement left the Bulls over helping. That gave Luis Scola several openings for easy baskets as he scored a dozen in the quarter and Toronto led 32-23 after one quarter.

The Bulls reserves, who had been outplayed on the road trip last week, rallied behind Portis and Brooks with 24 straight points from the reserves to midway through the second quarter when the Bulls took a 42-40 lead on a Portis three. But a powerful DeMar DeRozan slam dunk on a fast break was part of 8-2 close to the first half that again saw the Bulls distracted to end a quarter. Toronto led 52-49 at halftime as Brooks had 11 second quarter points. The Bulls had a halting start to the second half with six straight missed field goal before a Gasol postup for a three-point play.

Toronto led 68-62 behind their Lowry/DeRozan guard play before Rose and Gasol combined for a strong close to the third quarter. Rose made his third three pointer of the game and Gasol had a follow of a Portis miss and a pair of jumpers of Rose passes for a 78-73 Bulls lead going into the fourth quarter. The Bulls then eased out to an 82-74 lead two minutes in with a Taj Gibson slam dunk after a Portis jumper. The Bulls bench continued to produce as coach Hoiberg rode them in the fourth quarter. Snell made a three and a runner to give the Bulls a 91-78 lead with five minutes remaining.