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Bulls Cook Raptors in Toronto

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The Bulls, yes those Bulls, shot 61% (!) from the field on the way to topping the Raptors for the fourth time this year.

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

This was a pretty frustrating game for a lot of it. The Bulls had a really good offensive game going through 3 quarters, thanks in large part to some awful Raptors defense, but they couldn't seem to get stops against Toronto. It didn't feel like the Bulls were playing bad defense, per se, the Raptors just seemed to be making some tough looks.

The thing about relying on making insane shots, though, is that those shots usually stop falling at some point. Unfortunately for the Raptors, their crazy shot-making largely disappeared in the fourth quarter. They shot just 6 of 18 from the field in the final frame after shooting 50.8% from the field in the first three quarters, including a sizzling 8 of 15 (53%) from range. While the Raptors' unsustainable offense of making heavily contested jumpers dried up, the Bulls' offense took off from their already excellent game. The Bulls got whatever they wanted in the fourth, shooting a bonkers 15 of 20 (75%) from the field and 4 of 6 from deep. In all the Bulls outscored the Raps, 39 to 21 in the final quarter to blow them out in what had been a close game, with the Bulls trailing, for much of it.

Quick observations:

  • Kirk Hinrich had a pretty good Kirk Hinrich game. He was making (mostly) quick decisions when he got the ball, shot well (7 points, 5 shots) and aside from that he mostly stayed out of the way. He also only played 17 minutes, roughly the same as Tony Snell. That's a good lane for Kirk to be in, hopefully Thibs sticks with it.
  • Tony Snell continues to be totally hit or miss, based entirely on whether his shot is falling, making him a good nominee to take the moniker that Bill Simmons's dad gave to Tony Allen when he was a Celtic, "Trick or Treat Tony." Tonight was, fortunately, a big hit. He went 7 of 9 from the field, 3 of 5 from 3, and scored a point a minute (17 in 17).
  • One thing I noticed, that might show up in Chris's notes from tonight's game, it looked like Amir Johnson really took it to Joakim tonight. Noah finished with just 5 rebounds. Some of that was the fact that so few shots were missed in the game, but Amir & Jonas Valanciunas  had 11 and 12 rebounds, respectively. In addition to boxing Jo out effectively all night, Amir did a good job of crowding Noah on the perimeter to limit his effectiveness facilitating from the top of the offense.
  • Dunleavy got another strip steal! This time it was on James Johnson.
  • Demar DeRozan takes some god friggin' awful shots. Holy moly.
  • Niko played like a freaking boss. Again. His box-score numbers weren't as gaudy as they have been but he went 15 points on 11 shots in 28 minutes, and in those 28 minutes he put up a team high +/- of +24. He also did this:
  • Niko also appears to have earned Thibs' trust totally as he played the entire 4th quarter tonight. Thibs' habit of playing guys for entire quarters is pretty dumb / unnecessary, but Niko getting the closer tag is more fun to talk about than Pau playing the entire first and third quarters, which is also a thing that happened.
  • Whatever rust Jimmy had, he appears to have shaken off. Buckets scored a ludicrous 23 points on just 8 (?!?!?) shots. He also tossed up 5 boards and 3 assists to boot. Good to have that guy back.
  • Joakim remains the TROLL GAWD:

Good, fun win. The Bulls have a few days off now, playing next at home against the league-worst New York Knicks on Saturday night.