Deng, Gordon Lead Bulls Over Raptors
Chicago 113, Toronto 104
CHICAGO, Jan. 9 (Ticker) -- The Chicago Bulls nearly suffered the indignation of a monumental collapse. Thanks to Kirk Hinrich and Luol Deng, they still managed to extend their winning streak.
Hinrich collected 25 points and 11 assists and Deng added 21 points as the Bulls nearly blew a 23-point lead but held on for their third straight win, a 113-104 triumph over the Toronto Raptors.
"We were struggling in the first quarter then our defense picked it up," Deng said. "In the second quarter we started running and getting baskets in transition."
However, the Raptors started their rally with a 13-0 run in the third period and used a 10-0 burst in the fourth to cut their deficit to 89-87 on Matt Bonner's 3-pointer with 8:11 remaining.
"We got it back in the third quarter when we made some shots," Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said. "We had a run going then we ran out of gas. Then they just made some big shots."
"That's the thing about the NBA it's all about runs," said Raptors guard Jalen Rose, who played for Chicago from 2002-2004. "We didn't attack the basket and didn't get to the free-throw line enough. We came back but they put us out of range with that second quarter."
Chris Bosh scored six of his 26 points during the two surges.
"We did a good job fighting back," Bosh said. "However, we have to look back at what happened at the beginning of the game. If we shared the ball earlier we wouldn't have been in a deep hole."
Ben Gordon and Deng helped the Bulls respond with an 11-2 burst over the next 3:10. Gordon scored seven of his 19 points in the run and Deng capped it with a 3-pointer to make it 98-89. Chicago was not threatened thereafter.
"Our ball movement has been big for us over the past three games," Gordon said. "If we continue to play good on defense and share the ball we'll be all right."
"We had some great moments and we had some shaky moments," Bulls coach Scott Skiles said. "I'm certainly happy to have the win, and we had some guys that played well. Then when it got tight, we had enough big plays to hold them off."
Chicago has won three straight games following a season-worst eight-game slide. It is just the third time the Bulls have won consecutive games this season.