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Raptors tie franchise win-streak mark, down Bulls 129-102

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11 straight wins for the champs! They needed two quarters to wake up, but dominated the Bulls after halftime.

Toronto Raptors vs. Chicago Bulls recap: Raptors tie franchise win-streak mark, down Bulls 129-102, Terence Davis Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Norman Powell might be hurt, but the Toronto Raptors didn’t need to look far for replacement bench spark plug. Terence Davis II scored a career high 31 points off the bench to help the Raptors dispatch the Bulls 129-102 and win their 11th straight game.

Davis led a bench unit that scored 66 points, a great sign from a team beset, once again, by injury. Pascal Siakam chipped in with 17 points and nine rebounds, and Chris Boucher added 15 points and two steals.

Thaddeus Young led the Bulls with 21 points and seven rebounds.

The win ties the Raptors franchise record for consecutive wins; they can break it at home on Tuesday against Indiana.

The Raptors used a big third quarter, sparked by a stellar defensive effort, to turn the game around after a sluggish first half. Serge Ibaka had two huge blocks in the frame, and the energy on the defensive end turned into offense — as it usually does — as the Raptors forced six turnovers that led to eight points. They outscored the Bulls 35-22 in the quarter, with Ibaka and Siakam combining for 17.

The game wasn’t yet out of reach, though, until Davis and the bench took over at the start of the fourth to put it away. Davis had six points, and Patrick McCaw and Chris Boucher added three and two respectively, as part of a 13-4 run to open the quarter that put the game away.

The first half of the game played out like a typical NBA afternoon game. The Raptors started out on fire, and looked for all the world like they just wanted to go home and watch the Super Bowl. Kyle Lowry popped in two threes to open the scoring and the Raptors started the game 7-of-9 from the field as they built a 17-8 lead. Alas, it couldn’t last, as dreams of pizza and wings apparently overtook them, and the shooting turned ice cold.

The Bulls, in turn, caught fire, and went on a 15-2 run to take over the game — a stretch during which the Raptors missed six straight shots and turned the ball over four times.

Fortunately a late bench surge, led by Davis and Boucher — who combined for nine points in the final 1:44 of the frame — helped the Raptors claim a three-point lead heading into the second.

The bench energy carried the Raptors on offense as the second quarter opened, but the turnovers remained an issue: The Raptors had nine of them in the first half, which led to 11 Bulls points. The Raptors didn’t have their usual pop on defense, but you have to give the Bulls credit — they played a pretty half of basketball, with some gorgeous ball movement that I don’t think I’ve seen from them before. They finished the half with 16 assists on 21 made field goals, and it led to multiple open looks, both behind the line (11-for-24) and at the rim (20 points in the paint).

But any fears of the Raptors letting a subpar opponent hang around again were quickly extinguished in the second half. The Bulls’ hot shooting predictably cooled off as the Raptors ratcheted up the defensive intensity, and they scored only 39 points in the second half (after scoring 63 in the first) on 14-of-45 shooting, including just 4-for-24 from downtown.

Ibaka finished with 16 points, six rebounds and three blocks, and McCaw added 10 points off the bench as the Raptors improve to 36-14. Zach LaVine had 18 points, seven assists and seven boards for the Bulls, who fall to 19-33.