Defense and rebounding exist in Raptorland! After another shaky first half, Toronto put the clamps on the Bulls in the final 24 tonight, limiting them to 29 points in a 99-89 win at the ACC. The Raptors trailed 88-85 with just under seven minutes to go before making a defensive stand to close things out.
Tonight was part Toronto’s D and part Chicago not being able to throw a stone in the ocean in the second half. Still, a resilient effort considering this one looked to be slipping away when the Bulls grabbed an 11-point lead early in the third. The Raps finished with a 47-46 edge in rebounds and capitalized big off second-chance points. Chris Bosh led Toronto with 11 boards and DeMar DeRozan chipped in a career-best nine in just 19 minutes.
Bosh again led Toronto with 28 points despite not “having it” the way he usually does. He grinded, going 9-of-21, but made all 10 free throws and was a force on the boards in the team’s second half turnaround. Jose Calderon continued to play well, scoring 18 on 8-of-10 and adding six assists, while Andrea Bargnani managed 16 and six boards and Hedo Turkoglu checked in with 11 and eight.
Aside from Calderon, Toronto shot 36% from the field, making it all the more impressive they were able to come out with a win in this one. It took some will — something they’ll have to bring again if they want to contend in the East this year. For one night, at least, life is good.