The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Chicago Bulls. All opinions expressed by Sam Smith are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Chicago Bulls or its Basketball Operations staff, parent company, partners, or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Bulls and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.
By Sam Smith | 3.20.2015 | 9:25 p.m. CT
The Bulls Friday dominated almost from start to finish in a 108-92 victory over the Toronto Raptors.
With the victory, the Bulls moved ahead of Toronto into third in the Eastern Conference at 42-28. The Raptors are 41-28. The Bulls are 3-0 against Toronto with the final meeting in Toronto next week. The Bulls are 22-14 at home.
The Bulls were led once again by Nikola Mirotic with 29 points. Mike Dunleavy had 21 and Joakim Noah tied a career high with 14 assists. Noah also had 10 rebounds and eight points.
The Bulls took a 32-24 lead with a spirited offensive first quarter, which wasn’t even the best news as Taj Gibson made his return after missing 10 games with an ankle injury. Gibson was immediately aggressive with a pair of slam dunks and Mirotic kept up his hot play with 10 points in just four minutes. The Bulls then pulled ahead 60-48 at halftime with one of their better halves in weeks with Tony Snell and Mirotic attacking the rim for scores. The Bulls got a big third quarter from Mike Dunleavy and headed into the fourth quarter leading 86-68. The Raptors would make one run in the fourth quarter to get within 90-77 before a three-point play from Mirotic and a Dunleavy three assured the outcome.
1. Nikola Mirotic continued his superior play and expanded it with three point shooting, drives, postups and defense, which included a blocked shot he saved to himself and turned into a fast break. It was Mirotic’s sixth game this month of at least 23 points.
2. Tony Snell was the most aggressive he’s been of late with several strong drives to the basket instead of pulling up for step back jumpers.
3. The Bulls played with a swifter and more nimble offense with sharper cutting, not standing around, passing side to side and running the clock down for late, forced shots and it got them 60 first half points.