CHICAGO, Feb. 17 (Ticker) -- Jamal Crawford
and the Chicago Bulls used
solid defense to fight off a late rally and record consecutive
victories for the first time since December.
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Crawford scored 25 points and grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds
to help Chicago edge the Toronto Raptors, 75-73.
"We were up 20 points and playing well," Crawford said. "For
some reason we let them back in. It was a gutsy performance.
People stepped up at the right time."
jumper with 30 seconds left cut Chicago's lead
to 75-73. Twenty-five seconds later, Crawford missed two free
throws, giving Toronto one last chance. But Vince Carter
his dribble on a drive to the basket, then stepped out of bounds
while attempting to recover the ball.
"It was a great effort, guys were playing team ball, and we
moved it well, it gave us a chance to win in the last few
seconds," Carter said. "All I know is I lost the ball."
Chicago had not won consecutive games since Dec. 26-27 but
has won four straight against Toronto. Eddy Curry
points and nine rebounds for the Bulls while rookie Kirk Hinrich
scored 12 points.
Carter scored 21 points for Toronto, which lost its second
straight game. Morris Peterson
had 19 points while Donyell Marshall
contributed 10 and a career-high 24 rebounds.
"Every loss hurts," Williams said. "Every game, now, is
important for us. We need to dig down after a game like this.
Everything is so close in the East."
Toronto used a 10-1 run to cut Chicago's lead to 71-57 with 5:05
"With Vince Carter beginning to feel it, it got a little scary,"
Curry said. "He can get it going. We used pretty good defense
on him. It is the start of something good."
Curry scored 13 points in the first quarter to help Chicago
build a 24-17 lead. He closed out the period by beating the
buzzer with a 3-pointer, the first of his career and his first
The Bulls defense stifled Toronto in the opening half. Toronto
tied a franchise-low with nine field goals in the first two
quarters and trailed 46-33 at halftime.
The game featured poor shooting by both teams. Toronto shot 30
percent (23-of-76) while Chicago was slightly better at 33