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Bulls vs. Raptors final score: Chicago suffers tough 127-120 OT loss

the Bulls nearly pulled out a miraculous win in regulation, but costly mistakes doomed them in OT

Toronto Raptors take on the Chicago Bulls Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images

After their tough win on Tuesday, the Chicago Bulls started up a brutal portion of their schedule on Thursday up in Toronto, the first of two back-to-backs in five days (and seven games in 10 days) coming up. And it didn’t get off to a good start as the Bulls were forced into an overtime game and ultimately fell in a hard-fought loss to the Raptors, 127-120.

Chicago battled all game despite getting outplayed for much of it, even getting in position to win after a wild sequence resulted in a Nikola Vucevic basket and a 114-112 Bulls lead with 8.6 seconds to play. But the Bulls failed to corral the biggest rebound of the contest when after Fred VanVleet missed his game-tying attempt, Scottie Barnes flew in to score on a putback to send the game to overtime.

It was indicative of the whole game, as Chicago gave up 22 offensive boards against the relentless Raptors.

The Bulls also committed 17 turnovers, and the combination of those turnovers and all those Raptors offensive boards resulted in Toronto taking 23 more shots (113-90).

In overtime, the Bulls had their opportunities but two consecutive turnovers by Ayo Dosunmu proved costly. The final nail in the coffin was a blown coverage on Gary Trent Jr., who calmly buried a wide-open 3-pointer to make it a five-point game with 16.5 seconds left.

That was all she wrote, making this a real bummer of an outcome on the front end of a back-to-back after such a strong effort to come back.

On the bright side, Vucevic continued his run of strong play with a monster stat line of 30 points, 18 rebounds and four assists. DeMar DeRozan struggled at the start as the Raptors consistently doubled him hard, but he still finished with 28 points, with 14 of them coming from the charity stripe. He added seven assists and six rebounds.

Zach LaVine, who unfortunately had to celebrate his All Star announcement while being questionable due to back spasms, had 15 points on 10 shot attempts with seven assists. There was a weird moment in the game where he missed a layup and grabbed his back, prompting a timeout. Despite the grimace, he continued to keep playing, but he clearly wasn’t himself and was invisible in overtime.

Ayo had 11 points and eight assists in a solid game outside of his crunch-time gaffes, while Javonte Green had 13 points and a bunch of hustle plays as all five starters scored in double figures. Coby White dropped 16 points off the bench, but he was also a game-worst minus-19 in the box score as the Bulls’ reserves mostly struggled.

Chicago shot 47.8 percent from the field and 12-of-29 from 3-point range, and went 22-of-24 at the foul line. The problem was the turnovers and all those second chance opportunities allowed. The Raptors shot just 42.5% from the field, but they still made five more field goals thanks to all their extra opportunities. They did go 14-of-36 from 3-point range, with three crucial triples in overtime.

Even with a healthy squad, Chicago still matches up small against Toronto, and the home team got whatever they wanted inside. This was a common theme throughout the game as the Raptors outscored the Bulls 60-54 in the paint.

quarter-by-quarter

The two teams went back and forth to open the game as both teams got off to sluggish starts. From the get-go it was apparent that Toronto’s length and activity would bother the Bulls. Even with Vucevic out there on the court, the Raptors were dominating on the glass, leading to extended offensive possessions. Chicago also missed on a couple of passes as well, adding to the frustration. Yet they were just down two at the end of the first quarter thanks to a Troy Brown Jr. triple with five seconds left.

Toronto ramped up the pressure to start the second. They took advantage of a sluggish Chicago offense and built up a double-digit lead by the midway point of the quarter. They looked all over the place as Toronto’s length was affecting them in terms of generating shots. The Bulls eventually picked things up but were still unable to stop the Raptors from getting to the rim.

But with less than two minutes left in the half, Chicago made a charge to cut into the deficit. DeRozan quickly scored four points and then Ayo scored at the rim after getting the pass from DDR. It could have been more if Scottie Barnes hadn’t blocked Javonte Green with 11.5 seconds left. The Bulls were down 54-50 at the break, and given all that took place in the first 24 minutes, it was a good sign that they were only down four.

Chicago came out of the second-half gates firing, scoring nine points in the opening two and a half minutes. This mini surge allowed them to take the lead, but they were only able to extend it to as much as three in the third. Toronto kept fighting back and the teams were back to trading leads.

However, things began to swing against Chicago with two minutes left in the quarter. The Raptors reeled off an 8-2 run to push the lead to nine. It looked like it would be the start of a stretch which would take the Bulls out of the game. There even was a bizarre sequence where Tyler Cook misjudged the ball on a defensive rebound, jumping way too early and allowing Chris Boucher to pick it up. Seconds later, Fred VanVleet splashed a 3-pointer, which was a completely avoidable one. Cook then botched an easy layup on the other end to complete a massive swing. Luckily, White splashed a shot from downtown not long after to keep Chicago within striking distance to end the quarter.

The Bulls hung around to start the fourth quarter and had the deficit back down to two with 7:14 to play, but the Raptors used a quick 8-0 run to make it 103-93 with 5:50 to play. It felt like the road team had finally run out of juice, but they didn’t quit.

Vucevic and LaVine combined to score nine of the next 11 points to cut the lead back to three with 3:15 to play. DeRozan then pulled off some of his usual fourth-quarter heroics, knocking down four free throws down the stretch and then tying the game with a jumper with 47.8 seconds left. The following possession saw the ball go off VanVleet’s knee and out of bounds, but the referees ruled it Toronto ball. Billy Donovan challenged the call and won it, giving Chicago a chance for the game-winner.

With 32.9 seconds left, the Bulls switched between LaVine and DeRozan having the ball. The Raptors smartly decided to double DeRozan at half court as they had all game. This led to a frantic possession where every Chicago player ended up touching the ball as the shot clock wound down. Green made a jump pass to Dosunmu, who then gave it back to a cutting Vucevic. He quickly flipped a shot up as the shot clock expired, giving the Bulls the lead. Unfortunately, they just couldn’t seal the deal on the other end, and Vucevic’s last-second prayer after Barnes’ game-tying bucket didn’t come close.

To start the extra period, Toronto got an offensive boost as OG Anunoby hit two shots from beyond the arc. Yet Chicago responded to get the game tied at 120-120 with under two minutes to go. Then the Bulls’ offense got cold and had a few sloppy possessions. The Raptors took advantage and grabbed the lead. Chicago got a stop with 38.8 seconds left as Green knocked away a kickout pass from VanVleet, but Dosunmu, who was trying to push the ball ahead, threw it straight to Gary Trent Jr., who then hit that dagger triple off a feed from VanVleet.

***

This was a rough loss for Chicago given the circumstances. Despite them being outplayed the entire game, they still hung in there and nearly pulled off a gritty road win. But in a season, you will lose some of these games in the final minutes or in overtime. Chicago’s loss coupled with Miami’s victory means the two teams are tied for first in the East again. Next up for the Bulls is against the Indiana Pacers on the road. Based on LaVine’s comments after the game, it’s a good bet that he’ll sit out because of his back spasms.