The Bulls have dominated the Raptors in recent years, but Toronto won the first two matchups between the two teams this year. It appeared at times in Wednesday night’s game that the Bulls had resurrected the Trashtors, but the Raptors flipped a nine-point third-quarter deficit into an 18-point fourth-quarter lead before ultimately taking home a 124-115 victory. The Bulls dropped to 0-3 on the year against the Raptors and have lost three straight games, including two at home.
The Bulls got off to a hot start behind Lauri Markkanen, while DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry were real trashy in the opening frame. The Bulls led 31-21 after the first quarter, but the Raptors’ strong bench led by Delon Wright and Fred VanVleet got them back in the game. Wright scored 15 of his career-high 25 points in the first half, doing damage at the rim and from beyond arc. The Raptors led by five late in the first half before a late Bulls surge gave the home team a 59-56 lead at the break.
With Lowry really struggling, the Bulls stretched their lead out to 80-71 with just over four minutes left in the third quarter. But DeRozan promptly put the Raptors on his back. He scored 10 of the Raptors’ next 12 points as part of a 14-2 run to give them a brief lead. The game was tied at 90-90 at the end of the third quarter and the Bulls took a quick two-point lead at the start of the fourth, but that’s when the Raptors blew the game open.
The Raptors’ bench dominated the start of the final frame as the Bulls went in the tank on both ends. By the time Lowry returned and hit one of his two 3-pointers on the night, it was a 16-4 run and the game was essentially over. DeRozan capped off his big night (35 points) with a pair of late triples to twist the dagger.
DeRozan hit five 3-pointers for the second straight game as his 3-point renaissance continues, and he shot 10 of 20 overall after shooting 1 of 7 in the first quarter. The Raptors as a team went 15 of 38 from distance, marking a third straight game in which the Bulls’ opponent made it rain from long range. Terrible opponent 3-point shooting was a hallmark of the Bulls’ winning streak, and that trend has been flipping back the other way lately.
The Bulls were led by Justin Holiday’s 26 points and six 3-pointers. He closed out the first three quarters with a 3-pointer in each of them and also added four assists. Markkanen had 22 points and 12 rebounds in another strong effort, even though he only hit two of his eight 3-pointers. He made seven of his nine 2-point attempts and did well against a solid defender in Serge Ibaka. Nikola Mirotic added 20 points off the bench, but nine of those points came in garbage time after the Raptors had taken full control.
Meanwhile, Kris Dunn had a game to forget. He shot poorly (1 of 6), got in foul trouble (four fouls by early in the third quarter) and turned the ball over three times. Dunn did have eight assists, five rebounds and two steals, but it was an ugly night overall and something that the youngster is still prone to do sometimes.
The Bulls are 13-25 on the year and have a two-game road trip coming up in Dallas and Indy. Zach LaVine will travel with the team on the trip and looks to be in line to return next week if there are no setbacks.