You seriously can’t make this stuff up. You really can’t. Even with the Raptors nearly up 20 points on the Bulls, Chicago stormed back and stole the game. It was another classic Jimmy Butler performance where carried the team on his back, scoring 42 points. Thanks to another Raptors meltdown against the Bulls, Chicago got their 10th straight win over Toronto.
The first quarter saw both teams shoot very efficiently from the field. It was a very close quarter with the lead being traded back and forth. Toronto found their offense from DeMar DeRozan, who scored 10 points in the quarter. Like Jimmy Butler, DeRozan finds his offense through efficient two-point shooting and getting to the free throw line. Along with DeRozan, Kyle Lowry was all over the floor offensively for Toronto. But it wasn’t in his usual scoring department. Lowry racked up seven assists in the first quarter and helped the Raptors shoot 54% from the field. Chicago shot slightly better (56%) from the field but got more balanced scoring. Dwyane Wade led Chicago in scoring with 6 points along with Butler’s 5. It was a very nice quarter to watch in terms of offense. The quarter even included Michael Carter-Williams hitting a corner three, which was a good sight to see after the abysmal shooting effort he had against Cleveland. It was a 29-28 lead for the Bulls at the end of the first quarter.
Things began to swing the visiting teams way when the bench lineups were rolled out in the 2nd quarter. With the likes of Cory Joseph, Terrance Ross, and Norman Powell on the court, the Raptors were flying. The bench lineup scored seven points with quite a few in transition. Using their speed to their advantage, Toronto was able to take the lead and hold it till Dwane Casey got his whole starting lineup back on the floor. Then the Raptors were able to take the lead to double digits much thanks to a 9-0 run that occurred in less than two minutes. Lowry was also finding his groove scoring-wise and quickly racked up 10 points to compliment both DeRozan and Jonas Valanciunas as the top scorers for Toronto. While the Raptors were hitting at the other end, the same couldn’t be said about Chicago. The Bulls committed 8 turnovers in that half, allowing 12 points off those mistakes. Against a team that likes to run and score (Toronto is 3rd in scoring in the NBA), that’s basically like handing them free points.
Chicago was outscored 33-19 in that quarter and for good reason, their offense was very stagnant. Wade and Butler tried to keep the Bulls in the game despite both shooting only 38% combined from the field (7-18). They were able to get to the free throw line nine times in that half. Still, that wasn’t enough to keep Toronto from holding a sizable advantage in this game. The Raptors lead ballooned to as much as 16 but a corner three from Wade with 50 seconds left in the half to make the score 61-48 heading into the half.
Lowry and DeRozan continued to keep the Raptors offense humming. Behind their All-Star caliber duo, the Raptors were able to extend their lead to as much as 19. Chicago tried to get Wade some post up looks with Lowry guarding him but couldn’t cash in on the two chances he had. That also got Toronto to switch Lowry onto Michael-Carter Williams and help hide the smaller guard on defense. The Raptors were also able to get to the line a ton in that quarter, helping them keep a double digit lead. Like in the second quarter, Chicago’s offense wasn’t able to keep up with Toronto. A lot of the offense consisted of Butler-iso ball or it ended with a contested jump shot. It was extremely hard to watch. But despite the poor offense, the Bulls were only down 86-74. That set them up with a chance to possibly get back into the game with a run in the 4th.
Fred Hoiberg rolled out the lineup of Wade + the young guys to start the quarter. That lineup was able to get some good shots offensively but sadly they weren’t able to keep the Raptors from scoring as well. It did include a Cristiano Felico alley-oop, though.
The game was hovering around a double digit Toronto lead when Butler checked back in with 7:55 left. The lead was down to four with 4:40 left and the UC was getting into it. Next possession, Butler found himself on Lowry. He sized up Lowry and drilled a jumper in his face, cutting the lead to two and forcing a Toronto timeout. A few possessions later, Butler took a page out of Toronto’s playbook and got DeMarre Carroll to bite on a pump-fake and wisely drew a foul shot. He made both of them to complete the 19 point comeback.
Chicago ended up taking the lead when Butler found a cutting Wade for a monster slam to take a 101-99 lead. Then after a Lowry layup, Nikola Mirotic then took one of those “why are you taking that?” shot from three. Luckily he found the bottom of the net and Chicago took a three-point lead.
Toronto was able to retake the lead with less than a minute left when DeRozan knocked down two free throws after being hacked by Felicio and Wade on a drive. Then a sequence where Butler got a rebound off his own miss saw the ball in Doug McDermott’s hand at the three-point line. With no Raptor in sight, Doug let it fly and splashed the open triple. 107-105 Chicago.
DeRozan then drew a very tough foul call, earning him two free throws and some mad reactions from Bulls players and fans. That left 31.7 left for Chicago to find a way to re-take the lead with 31.7 left. Dwyane Wade’s drive was almost tipped back in by Felicio but ended up in the hands of Lowry. Toronto had two chances to score the game-winner but couldn’t covert. It was overtime in Chicago.
The first few minutes of OT consisted of both teams getting all of their offense from the free throw line. It was McDermott who paced Chicago in OT, drawing a foul shot from three and cutting to the basket for a dunk on back to back possessions. The Raptors were able to stay in the game and keep the Chicago lead at 2 with less than a minute to go. But it was too much time for Jimmy Butler heroics.
With a switch that helped him get on Lowry, Butler took on the smaller guard, spun backwards to the three-point line and swished a dagger three. It put Chicago up 121-116 and put him over the 40 point mark.
The game wasn't exactly over just yet, Lowry drew another 3-shot foul call on Felicio but only made two shots. Jerian Grant was able to knock down two free throws and seal the game for Chicago. Considering the leads Toronto has blown against Chicago, you shouldn’t be surprised at what happened but it was still unreal to watch.
Cue the Thrashtors takes!