Quick Reaction: Raptors 105, Bulls 107

An incredible, scrappy effort. Questionable calls. Kyle Lowry Over Everything. It really did have it all. Tough loss, but a great game.

Chicago Bulls 107 FinalRecap | Box Score 105 Toronto Raptors
Ed Davis, PF 38 MIN | 5-12 FG | 1-2 FT | 6 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | -16Up and down game for Ed, who got torched by Boozer in the early going but came back strong down the stretch with some great offensive rebounding. Wasn’t particularly effective offensively tonight, but he didn’t need to be given the way Lowry and Anderson were performing.
Landry Fields, SF 18 MIN | 0-3 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 1 PTS | -17Again, tons of effort, not a ton of results. Did a solid job on D when he was out there, though he got burnt by Deng a few times, and needs to find a shot, any shot, that he can consistently make. The team is playing 4 on 5 in the half-court when he’s on the floor.
Aaron Gray, C 5 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | -4I made it home from class 5 minutes after the game started and literally missed everything he did on the court tonight. Disappointed we didn’t get to see #letgraydunk, part 2.
Jose Calderon, PG 21 MIN | 3-10 FG | 3-3 FT | 2 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 9 PTS | -13Rightfully sat down the stretch as Lowry went bonkers, but seemed a bit hesitant when he was out there, though that may be due to the starters’ general unwillingness to work to get open in the first half-plus of the game. Had a great chance to win it at the end, but, alas.
DeMar DeRozan, SG 40 MIN | 6-13 FG | 6-6 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 18 PTS | -12This would have been an “A” grade at the end of the first, when his shot was falling like Quincy Acy in the lane. As the game went on, though, he began to cool off, but continued to force up tough, contested jumpers instead of drive into the lane. For stretches of overtime, the Bulls had Deng on Lowry, Belinelli on Anderson, and Robinson on DeRozan, which is telling.
Amir Johnson, PF 44 MIN | 2-9 FG | 1-4 FT | 10 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 5 PTS | +1Not the best start to the game as he was lit up by the Bulls bigs in the first half, but, like Ed, his size and effort was key in giving the Raptors all the extra possessions they needed to stay in the game. Got robbed on a shooting foul with the clock winding down in overtime, though he didn’t have a great night at the stripe, anyways.
Quincy Acy, SF 15 MIN | 4-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | +14The Charge Master! His best outing of the year, by far: he sparked the Raptor run with great work in a zone, played man on Boozer as well as anyone on the team, did a great job hustling on the fast break and making himself available for easy buckets, and even hit a jump shot! Oh, and did I mention he took FOUR charges?
Kyle Lowry, PG 34 MIN | 8-15 FG | 8-11 FT | 5 REB | 7 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 26 PTS | +16Left me speechless, for the second night in a row. Nobody can question his heart, and tonight, he was everything for the Raptors: sparking the defence with his leadership and ball-hawking skills, blowing by the Bull wings at will, making multiple “did you see that?” passes, and hitting the open jumper when he had a chance. The biggest reason the Raptors got as close as they did, and the best player on the floor in the second half, for either team.
Alan Anderson, SG 35 MIN | 10-18 FG | 3-4 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 27 PTS | +21Eighteen field goal attempts seems like a lot, but he took the vast majority of them in the flow of the offense, and hit enough that it was justifiable, especially when the rest of the team (Lowry excluded) went cold. I loved his D on Deng in the fourth quarter – realizing that the rest of the Bulls were desperate to get him the ball, Anderson worked his tail off to deny the bigger man to great effect. Love his effort game after game, and when his shots fall, I love everything about the way he plays.
Terrence Ross, SG 14 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 0 PTS | 0Was invisible tonight, again, though he got buried on the wing due to Anderson’s big night. He may be hitting the rookie wall a bit – I wouldn’t say this for too many first year players, but I really think he needs to shoot his way out of it.

Five Things We Saw

  1. *Exhales.* Wow, what a game, hey? The most exciting of the year, in my opinion. The fans were into it, the Raptors were into it, and our guys came back from down 19 against a superior team (not to mention the #1 defensive team in the league) on what seemed like sheer force of will. Final score notwithstanding, you have to be proud of the way they fought tonight.
  2. Both teams seemed to suffer from a case of missed-free throw-itis: the Bulls missed 10 on the night (especially our good friend Marco Belinelli, who seemed to be doing his best to give us the game on the stripe), and the Raptors 9. In a game this close, even shooting at their season averages could have pushed either team to a win.
  3. I wish I could come up with an analytical reason why the Raptors were able to come back after being down 19 in the 3rd quarter – a switch in plays, a defensive scheme, something – but the answer, honestly, is the effort and play of the bench, specifically Lowry, Anderson, and Acy. The three of them forced Chicago turnovers (and offensive fouls) and basically ran the offense themselves through the end of the quarter, pulling the Raptors back within 6 to start the fourth. Basically the bench bailed out the starters tonight, in both halves (just look at those plus/minuses).
  4. Carlos Boozer was killing the Raps to start the game: yet another example of my “strong bigs who can hit jumpers are the Raptors’ kryptonite” theory. It seemed like he was getting position on Ed and Amir whenever he felt like it down low – particularly Ed, who just doesn’t have the strength to contend with a big like that one-on-one. Casey switched to a zone in the second quarter at times, and the refs’ whistles got Boozer in foul trouble and on the bench for key stretches in the second half, both of which were key to stopping him.
  5. Speaking of the refs, I HATE complaining about calls in this space, but a few of those just seemed a bit… fishy, no? The Amir “step-in/step-out” call, which probably happens multiple times a game and is never called, the Deng push-off late in the game, and the Amir non-shooting foul at the end all come to mind off the top of my head. Maybe I’m just a homer, though, and Casey arguing with them/the fans chanting “ref you suck” probably didn’t help matters. In either case, a fantastic effort for the Raps, which the team will hopefully focus on more than the loss. Next game is Friday in Philly.

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