Raptors' Rapid Recap - Toronto Raptors 118 - Chicago Bulls 113


-Can we call it the James Johnson impact?  it might be a bit too early to say for sure, but the Toronto Raptors in their first game post-Johnson's acquisition came ready to play, fighting the Chicago Bulls tooth-and-nail en route to a 118 to 113 win.  Johnson might have only had 9 points against his former team, but he also grabbed 5 rebounds, had 3 blocks, and brought a certain intensity to the starting line-up that had been missing...well...all season.

-However while Johnson might have been the catalyst, Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan were the stars for Toronto dropping in 24 points apiece and getting to the line 19 times.  Bargs didn't have the greatest percentage from the field, but made up for it by mixing up his O, hitting 10 of his 11 free-throws, and grabbing 8 boards.  He was also more aggressive than we've seen in a long time, and even looked to get DeMar involved late.

-Not to be outdone though was Jose Calderon.  He had but 6 points but dropped in a ridiculous 17 assists!  The Raps also got great contributions from the likes of Amir Johnson and Sonny Weems, and in fact Weems and his benchmates (Johnson started at the 3 tonight) outscored the Bulls' pine-crew 38 to 28.

-However this was nearly loss number 43 on the season for TO thanks to Derrick Rose.  Rose was a one-man wrecking crew late in the game and finished with an MVP-like 32 points and 10 assists.  Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer were effective combining for 43 points, but as mentioned, the club didn't get enough O from the rest of their crew.  As well, the Raps actually got key defensive stops while the Bulls struggled to get stops at all, allowing the Dinos to shoot nearly 60 per cent from the field!

-The win is no doubt their biggest in a while and much-needed for a young club.  The Raptors face the Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, and New Orleans Hornets in the next few days so let's hope the James Johnson effect last well beyond this one great W.

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