Well, the Raptors improbably managed to keep this game competitive through three quarters as the Bulls looked sluggish and sloppy, but Chicago extended a four-point lead into an 11-point advantage with a 7-0 run to start the fourth quarter. A team like the Raptors are not going to make up that kind of difference against a defense like the Bulls, especially with Bargnani missing in action.
Six thoughts on this game? Sure, why not.
1. The Raptors scored only one point from the free throw line, in seven attempts. This was just the second time in franchise history that the Raptors failed to score at least three points from the line — the other time was on January 9, 1996 (the Raptors’ inaugural season) when they lost 91-90 to the Charlotte Hornets as the Hornets went 24-for-41 from the charity stripe while the Raptors went 0-for-3.
2. James Johnson clearly meant to send a message to the Bulls for trading him to the Raptors, and he played his best game of the season — scoring 12 points on 6-for-11 shooting and finishing with three rebounds, a block and a steal in 19 minutes before he twisted his ankle. In contrast, starting small forward Rasual Butler played 14 minutes and finished with no points on 0-for-3 shooting, one rebound and one assist. Let’s move on.
3. Jose Calderon had a tough game offensively (two points on 1-for-6 shooting, eight assists) but I thought his defense was excellent. He closed out effectively on shooters all night and he did about as good a job as you could reasonably expect him to do at staying in front of Derrick Rose. I think he’s playing the best defense of his NBA career this season.
4. When Bryan Colangelo replaces scrubs like Butler and Jamaal Magloire (can you believe this guy was an All-Star?) with legitimate NBA players next season, I think you’ll be amazed at what a difference it makes. Both of these guys will be out of the league after this season, I promise you.
5. Here were the team stats at halftime of this game. Notice anything weird?
6. It’s probably just me, but now that Amir is growing out his hair, I think he looks like a skinny, younger version of Ice Cube.
Raptors Player of the Game: DeMar DeRozan — 38 MP, 15 Pts, 7-15 FG, 1-1 3Pt, 4 Reb, 2 Blk
Bulls Player of the Game: Carlos Boozer — 34 MP, 17 Pts, 8-15 FG, 1-1 FT, 13 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk