CHICAGO(AP) Jose Calderon made it clear just how important he is to the Toronto Raptors in his return from a hamstring injury.
Calderon had 23 points on 9-of-10 shooting and added 10 assists to help the Raptors snap a seven-game losing streak with a 114-94 victory over Chicago on Friday night.
Calderon returned after missing 10 of the last 11 games because of the strained right hamstring. He went 4-for-4 from the line and has made 83 straight free throws dating to last season, the second-longest streak in NBA history. Michael Williams holds the record, making 97 in a row for Minnesota in 1993.
"It's completely different with him on the floor,'' Toronto interim coach Jay Triano said. "He's in control of the ball. He's in control of the other players on the floor. He makes shots. He makes plays.
"He defended extremely well for being out as long as he was. We had to manage his minutes and that was a little cumbersome at times, but he just played great.''
Leading 91-90 with 6:19 left, the Raptors closed the game by outscoring the Bulls 23-4. Calderon set up Chris Bosh for a dunk, and Joey Graham made a free throw to put the Raptors up 94-90 with 5:35 left. After Bulls forward Joakim Noah missed two free throws, he fouled Andrea Bargnani, who made a free throw to make it 97-92.
"We played 48 minutes for the first time in a long time,'' Calderon said. "We have to keep playing. They were close with 3 minutes left or something like that and we just took over.''
Noah fouled out with no points and three rebounds and walked to the bench to boos from the crowd.
"I think we lost control of the game. We gave it up, that's it. We had the game right there, but we lost confidence,'' Andres Nocioni said.
It has been a rough week for Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro.
On Thursday, Ben Gordon got into an argument with Del Negro for reportedly being fined for being late to team flights, but Gordon refused to elaborate on the incident before the game.
On Wednesday, Bulls general manager was critical of the team's play.
"I thought our energy to start the third quarter was not good,'' Del Negro said. "We are not good enough to do that. We have to play with high energy and play together.''
Bargnani finished with 22 points, and Bosh had 17 points and six rebounds.
Gordon scored 19 points for Chicago. The Bulls have lost four straight.
Bargnani and Calderon hit back-to-back 3s to make it 110-92 with 1:08 left that sparked more boos from the crowd.
Toronto opened the third quarter by outscoring Chicago 13-1. Calderon had jumper and a layup to give Toronto a 67-55 lead.
"When we play like that for 48 minutes, we're much better team than our record shows,'' Calderon said. "This is the time to turn things around.''
Notes: Bulls F Drew Gooden missed his second straight game because of a strained left groin. ... Chicago had 23 turnovers. ... Bulls F Tyrus Thomas had a highlight dunk over Jermaine O'Neal in the first quarter. In the second quarter, O'Neal and Thomas were issued technicals for jawing at each other after O'Neal was fouled by Nocioni.