TORONTO – Against a team they’ve struggled with for the past three years, and considering the circumstances of the match-up, it was nice to see what transpired the first 24 minutes on Sunday.
At the half, the score read Bulls 63, Raptors 60. That’s not bad for a visiting team decimated by injuries facing the hottest squad in the NBA at the moment, having won ten-straight games coming into the match-up at the Scotiabank Arena.
Yet there was this feeling that it just wasn’t going to last.
A healthy amount of three-pointers kept the Bulls above water in the first half, and the likelihood of them continuing to fall wasn’t in their favor. Plus Toronto is Toronto, and the defending champs were bound to break out in the midst of their best stretch of the season.
Indeed that happened, as the Raptors used an offensive attack of veterans and a rookie to outscore the Bulls by 30 in the second half to pick up a 129-102 win on Sunday afternoon, completing a difficult weekend of defense for the visitors.
The point total for Toronto was the second-highest allowed by the Bulls this season, with their highest total coming in a loss to the Nets in which they yielded 133. Each of those came without arguably their best defender Kris Dunn, who remains out with a left knee injury which he got an MRI for on Saturday in Chicago.
Both losses knock the Bulls to 19-33 on the season as they sit on this loss for four days till their next game against the Pelicans on Thursday in Chicago. It also marks the 12th-straight time that the Bulls have lost to the Raptors dating back to 2017, but at least it was a game in the first half.
Thanks to a knack for the three-pointer, hitting 11 of them in the first 24 minutes, the Bulls were able to take a three-point lead into the break. Thaddeus Young had 17 of his 21 points in the first two quarters, but it’s then that the highlights for the Bulls came to an end on this night as the Raptors put it away quickly in the first half.
Toronto started the second half on a 17-4 run and would end up outscoring the Bulls 35-22 in the third quarter thanks to the hot hand of rookie Terence Davis. He continued his great shooting into the fourth quarter, hitting 12-of-15 shots from the floor including 6-of-7 three-pointers to finish with a career-high 31 points as the Raptors outscored the Bulls 69-39 in the second half.
It’s the outcome most everyone feared even after a strong start to the game, and one that would eventually come true during a forgettable weekend of basketball for the shorthanded Bulls.