It's a shame this was a well-attended Friday night game instead of a random Wednesday nighter as the Toronto Raptors certainly didn't give their hometown crowd much to cheer about. The Raps got down 27 to 16 after a quarter and despite some late-game heroics by DeMar DeRozan, couldn't get back in it. Final score was Chicago 96, Toronto 80.
Now, let's talk about DeMar DeRozan for a minute because minus his career-high tying 37 points, this would have been beyond ugly. Put it this way. The Raptors starters were 26 for 60 with DeRozan (43 per cent.)
13 for 48 for a beautiful 27 per cent.
You get the idea now.
Rudy Gay's box score doesn't look atrocious (20 points, 9 rebounds, 7 of 15 shooting) but he had four turnovers and just didn't look locked into this one.
Amir Johnson would fit in the same category and he and Jonas Valanciunas were out-worked and out-muscled all night by Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah, who had 32 points, 18 rebounds and 9 assists all together.
They set the tone and whenever the Raptors did make a mini run, such as their 12 to 5 spurt to end the half, the Bulls would find holes in the Toronto defence and drain open looks.
This was the other big issue as contrary to Wednesday night in Memphis, tonight the Dinos couldn't hit a long-distance shot despite their best attempts going 5 of 23 from three-point range.
A lot of credit has to go to Chicago's defence though in this one, which more than made up for the absence of Derrick Rose and made sure Toronto never got closer than about 12 points.
Yes, despite Mr. DeRozan's best efforts. He was the lone bright spot in this one simply terrorizing the Bulls in the fourth quarter and as noted, tying a career-high in points. He was the Fresh Prince in the "Pass it to Will" episode unfortunately even when he was red hot, various teammates took turns playing Carlton, looking for their own offence instead of feeding the hot hand.
And ultimately it was a case of too little too late in any event.
The Raptors get a chance to get back in the win column Sunday afternoon as they host the Portland Trailblazers.