The Toronto Raptors battled back from a 19-point third-quarter deficit Wednesday night before eventually falling to the Chicago Bulls in overtime.
Luol Deng’s jumper over Landry Fields, which shouldn’t have counted as Deng pushed off with his left arm, was the final bucket of the game. Jose Calderon’s lengthy 3-ball hit back iron as time expired.
The Raps are now 1-3 in OT games this season, continuing a franchise-long history of extra time losses.
The Raps’ walking wounded (Kyle Lowry, Calderon, Alan Anderson) were all in uniform against the defensive-minded Bulls. Anderson, showing no signs of having spent a chunk of his day in the dentist’s chair getting his tooth repaired after last night’s pounding, came off the bench to score 27 points. Unfortunately he missed his second free throw of the OT, and the point that wasn’t haunted the Raps. He fouled out shortly after, joining the Bulls’ Kirk Hinrich and Taj Gibson as unwilling spectators.
Carlos Boozer, who is enjoying an excellent bounce-back season, torched the Raps’ flimsy interior defense for a ludicrous 25 points in the first half. He finished with 36. Far too many of his buckets were uncontested layups or short jumpers, which I’m sure inspired some paint-peeling commentary from Dwane Casey at the break.
Another issue was the Raps’ proclivity for turnovers. While a solid veteran squad like Chicago is admittedly tough to play against in the half-court set, there’s no excuse for 4 turnovers in 59 seconds, which is what occurred shortly before halftime. The Raps had overcome a 10-point deficit to put their nose ahead, but the bout of giveaways allowed easy Bulls buckets and a 52-44 lead.
The Raps chipped away at the Bulls lead throughout Q3, and were within 6 as Q4 started. The Bulls slipped ahead by 10, but Anderson nailed a 3, then later, after Deng hit a long ball, Lowry raced down the floor and drained one of his own. The tension never abated, and Amir Johnson was fouled after pulling down an offensive board. He tied the game at 100 with his first shot, but the second one spilled out.
Lowry also shook off last night’s ankle injury, and generated offensive sparks all game, ending with 26 points. He and Anderson hit the Raps’ only 3-balls of the first half, but both men were fearless in attacking the basket time and time again. DeMar DeRozan’s jump shot was a weapon; he contributed 12 points but with no free throw attempts in the first half. He did hit all six in the second half, but was not a factor in crunch time.
Quincy Acy is a rookie with the mind of a 9-year veteran. He drew no less than 4 charges because of excellent anticipation and positioning on defense. Quincy made all 4 of his shot attempts as well, so we will be seeing a lot more of him.
I’ve had quite enough of these character building losses. It’s long past time to discover what a win of that type feels like. Our next chance is Friday night when the Raps play the 76ers in Philadelphia.
Brian Boake is a staff writer for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.