Bill Smith/Chicago Bulls
Rose and Bulls rule fourth quarter to top Raptors
Bulls improve to 18-9
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By Sam Smith | 12.22.2014 | 9:30 p.m. CT
The Bulls matched the high scoring Toronto Raptors shot for shot and pulled away in the fourth quarter behind a classic Derrick Rose performance for an exciting 129-120 victory Monday night at the United Center.
Rose scored 15 fourth quarter points on an assortment of jumpers and drives and had a pair of clever assists in a late 17-7 run that broke open a close and vigorously contested game between top Eastern Conference teams. The Bulls scored a franchise record 49 points in the fourth quarter and raised their record to 18-9 as the Raptors fell to 22-7 atop the East.
Rose led the Bulls with 29 points. Jimmy Butler scored 27 points and added 11 rebounds and five blocks. Rookie Nikola Mirotic played the majority of the fourth quarter and had 12 points as seven Bulls were in double figures scoring. Kyle Lowry had 34 for Toronto, 18 in the fourth quarter.
1. Jimmy Butler’s pace of play continues to be remarkable as he also is one of the team’s strongest rebounders and led the team in the first half in scoring and rebounding and had his second straight double/double after 31 and 10 at Memphis.
2. Derrick Rose back from missing two games with flu looked fast with the ball and made several spinning moves inside for scores. He also must have practiced his shooting with three long pull up jumpers late in fourth.
3. The Raptors’ defensive plan focused on dropping a double team onto Pau Gasol to force the Bulls into more perimeter shooting. It’s probably a tactic the Bulls will see more of toward the playoffs and Gasol didn’t play in the fourth quarter.