Notebook: Raptors 97, Bulls 88

Posted Apr 12, 2013 11:08 PM

Duane Watson, for

THE FACTS: The Toronto Raptors beat the Chicago Bulls 97-88 at Air Canada Centre on Friday night, their second win over the Bulls in four days. The Raptors took advantage of a weary Bulls team that played an overtime game on Thursday, outscoring them on the fast break 23-6. Amir Johnson led the Raptors with 24 points and nine rebounds, while Rudy Gay added 23 points, five steals and three blocked shots. DeMar DeRozan scored 19 points while Kyle Lowry fell just short of a triple-double with 13 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds.

The Raptors took their first lead since the opening tip on 12-3 run into halftime with a 47-43 lead and didn't relinquish it for the rest of the game. With 11 turnovers in the first half the Raptors only surrendered two more in the second behind strong offensive output, going on a 14-3 run early in the third quarter to take a 15 point lead. During that stretch, Richard Hamilton was ejected for a Flagrant 2 foul on DeRozan.

However, the Bulls battled back in the fourth and brought the score to within four points with the score 73-69, but moments later Johnson knocked down only his third 3-point shot of the season to give the Raptors 85-76 lead that kept the game firmly in hand.

Carlos Boozer's 19 points and 12 rebounds led the Bulls, Nate Robinson chipped in 17 off the bench, while Nazr Mohammed had a double-double of 16 points and 13 rebounds. The Bulls were without Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson and Derrick Rose, who are all out with injuries.

QUOTABLE: "The second half we did a much better job of taking care of the ball, executing, but then defensively locking in and making them earn every inch of the court."
-- Raptors Head Coach Dwane Casey

THE STAT: Fast break points. Toronto's athleticism and ability to run helped them take advantage of a battered and fatigued Bulls team that was coming off an overtime win the night before. They outscored Chicago 23-6 on the break, leading to easy baskets on the other end.

TURNING POINT: An unlikely shooter, Johnson's three-point shot with 5:54 left in the fourth quarter put the Raptors up 76-85. It was a deflating moment for the Bulls and it was only Johnson's third make from beyond the arc this season, where he's 3-9.

QUOTABLE II: "It's just effort on the defensive end and that's where it all starts. When we scramble, get to the shooters, close out and box out, we are so athletic we can definitely run."
-- Raptors forward Johnson on his team's play.

NOTABLE: Toronto took the season series against Chicago 3-1 winning the last two games. The Raptors were without Landry Fields (strep throat), Terrence Ross (sprained left ankle) and Jonas Valanciunas (whiplash). Actors Morris Chestnut and Shane West were in attendance.

UP NEXT: For the Raptors; Sunday vs. Brooklyn, Tuesday @ Atlanta and Wednesday vs. Boston. For the Bulls; Sunday @ Miami, Monday @ Orlando and Wednesday vs. Washington.