It seemed familiar to the Bulls. Now what was that again, Oh, right, a win! The Bulls to their relief Friday finally got another, 116-106 over the Toronto Raptors.
The victory ended a five-game losing streak on a downward spiral for the Bulls of 14 losses in the previous 19 games and five straight at home. The Bulls had not won in the United Center since Jan. 7. The Bulls moved to 28-26 with their eighth straight win over Toronto and third this season. The Raptors are 35-18.
The Bulls were led by a Doug McDermott career high of 30 points on 13 of 17 shooting as the Bulls bench had a 49-28 edge. Derrick Rose added 26 points and six assists.
The Bulls saved another potentially blown game late with big baskets from Rose on an isolation drive and McDermott on a corner three after the Raptors drew within two.
The Bulls faced the back to back with the Raptors playing their first game after the All-Star break. The Bulls also came in 2-0 against Toronto this season, having won seven straight over the Raptors and not having lost to them since late 2013. But it also had been more than a month since the Bulls won in the United Center, where the Bulls were wearing retro jerseys for 90s night.
The Bulls got another fast start from Rose with nine first quarter points on four of six shooting, making a three and finishing several drives to the basket. But again there was little offensive support as Gasol drew an early second foul and Jonas Valanciunas was dominating the Bulls on the boards. He had 11 points and six first quarter rebounds and DeMar DeRozan 10 in the first quarter as after the Bulls took a 14-11 lead, Toronto made three consecutive three pointers to surge ahead 32-20 and 35-24 after the first quarter.
The Bulls finally got some reserve support in the second quarter as Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg went with reserves like Cristiano Felicio, Bobby Portis and McDermott, who proved an effective group with their activity. The Bulls got within 43-37 before the Raptors continued to bull their way ahead driving and being fouled with 21 first half free throw attempts. But with McDermott getting 10 points in the first half and Portis eight, the Bulls got within 58-52 at halftime as Portis closed the half with a jumper on a Rose pass and dunk on E’Twaun Moore look ahead pass.
The Bulls after falling behind 69-60 about four minutes into the third quarter went on one of their best offensive runs of the season, scoring in seven straight possessions with Rose and McDermott dominating the scoring. It would be 12 straight and a 20-4 Bulls run for an 80-73 Bulls lead as the Bulls then went into the fourth quarter leading 89-81. The Bulls pulled out ahead 99-87 as McDermott dunked on a back door pass to establish his career scoring high and followed that with a three pointer for a 99-87 Bulls lead with 8:37 left. But the Raptors in the penalty early went with their small lineup and charged back within two points with four minutes remaining.