Bulls fall to Raptors in season opener, 117-101

The Bulls Thursday lost 117-101 to the Toronto Raptors in the season opening game for both teams. The Bulls were sunk by a woeful start to the second quarter when they were outscored by 20 points in the first six minutes and basically never recovered.

Robin Lopez led the Bulls with 18 points and eight rebounds and rookie Lauri Markkanen, making his first NBA start in his first NBA game, had 17 points and eight rebounds after a big third quarter. Justin Holiday had 15 points and Quincy Pondexter after not playing for two years had eight points. Jonas Valanciunas had 23 points for Toronto and C.J. Miles 22.

The Bulls came in shorthanded, as they will be for some time. Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic were out after their altercation and Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine are out injured. Still, it was a representative first quarter for the Bulls behind the scoring of Holiday with eight points. The Bulls trailed 25-23 after one even as Toronto was four of seven on threes. But the bottom fell out to start the second quarter when the Bulls went with an all reserve group of Cristiano Felicio, Ryan Archidiacono, Denzel Valentine, David Nwaba and Quincy Pondexter. Toronto scored 10 straight sending the Bulls to a timeout, but Toronto added another 12-2 to make it a 22-2 run in the first six minutes of the quarter for a 47-25 Raptors lead. The Bulls came back with their starters and regained an equilibrium, playing Toronto even to close and trailing 58-37 at halftime. Lopez led the Bulls with 12 in the half. Toronto made eight of 17 threes, four of four from reserve Miles. The Bulls closed within 68-52 on some aggressive play from Markkanen and a Holiday three about five minutes into the third quarter. But Toronto regained a 73-54 lead with some pressure and run outs for scores. The Raptors went on to lead 84-64 after three quarters as Markkanen scored 11 third quarter points.