Bulls Look To Extend Winning Streak, Host Raptors
Posted Dec 8 2006 12:51PM
NBA.com Daily Confidential
The Chicago Bulls have offset their early six-game skid with a winning streak of the same length.
The Bulls look to extend that run, as well as the long one they have going against the Toronto Raptors when the teams meet Friday at the United Center.
Chicago (9-9) has not lost to the Raptors (7-11) since a 103-89 defeat on Dec. 6, 2002. That was Toronto's 16th straight win in the series, but now the Bulls have won the last 13 meetings.
The Bulls have really dominated the series over the past two seasons, winning the seven meetings by an average of 12.2 points while outrebounding the Raptors by an 11.9 average.
Chicago has been showing the same efficiency during its current six-game win streak, defeating opponents by an average of 15.7 points. The Bulls have a 138-104 rebounding edge over the past three games.
The team had lost six games in a row just before its current win streak. The Bulls have given up an average of 93.0 points in their last six contests after allowing 105.0 during the losing streak.
``We were down, but it's the NBA; you get up the next day and you think about the next team,'' Bulls forward Luol Deng said. ``We did a good job of that. We've just been playing great.''
Chicago beat Philadelphia 121-94 on Wednesday, scoring a season high in points and shooting a season-best 61.5 percent from the field.
The onslaught began with Ben Gordon scoring 17 in the first quarter as the entire 76ers team had only 16 in that period. The Bulls were ahead 69-48 at halftime, their highest-scoring first half since Feb. 28, 1997, when they had 72 against Sacramento.
``We've really been doing a good job of hitting guys in spots where they can score the basketball,'' said Gordon, who finished with 31 points.
Deng scored 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting and grabbed 10 rebounds. He has scored 42 points on 57.7 percent shooting in his only two career home games against Toronto.
Wednesday's win was the Bulls' sixth straight at the United Center after losing their home opener. They have not won seven consecutive home games since an eight-game run from Jan. 7-27, 2005.
Chicago was 21-20 at the United Center last season, the worst home record of any team to make the playoffs.
The Raptors fell to 2-9 on the road this season after losing 95-91 at Cleveland on Wednesday.
Toronto led 84-77 with 5:13 remaining in the fourth quarter, but allowed the Cavaliers to go on a 13-0 run over the next three minutes.
``You got to be in the game in the last five minutes to have a chance to win the game, and we were,'' Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said. ``I'm disappointed we lost. The effort, the execution ... just weren't quite good enough tonight.''
Chris Bosh had 18 points and 12 rebounds against Cleveland for his sixth straight double-double. He averaged 23.7 points in the three games he played against the Bulls last season, but only 5.0 rebounds.
Toronto is averaging 36 boards in its last four games, while Chicago is averaging 45.8 rebounds in its last five.
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