Dec 31, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas (17) reacts to being fouled by Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah (13) during the second half at the United Center. Toronto won 85-79. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Raps 85 - Chicago Bulls 79: Not quite a classic

The Toronto Raptors defeated the Chicago Bulls in a dreadful game, all film of which should be confiscated, hermetically sealed, and buried. Greivis Vasquez came off the bench to lead another strong Q4 rally, as the Raps outscored the Bulls 21-4 to pull ahead by 12 with less than 5 minutes to play. The Raps then slipped back into a funk, even from the free-throw line, but withstood a late Bulls run to escape with the victory.

Dec 31, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Toronto Raptors shooting guard DeMar DeRozan (10) is defended by Chicago Bulls shooting guard Jimmy Butler (21) during the first quarter at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto’s offense ran like someone poured sugar in the gas tank. The usually reliable DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry shot a combined 7 of 22. Kyle did hit three 3-balls, but Vasquez was the only other Rap to make from distance, once. Terrence Ross was invisible. The team counted 16 assists – and 15 turnovers.

So if the Raps were bad, what adjective befits the Bulls? Their not-so-big men, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah, were 3 for 18 from the field, though Noah did grab 16 rebounds. Kirk Hinrich, starting at point guard, had one bucket and three assists. The Bulls’ walking wounded, Luol Deng and Jimmy Butler, contributed offensively; if they hadn’t put up gutsy performances, their team might not have got to 60.

Jonas Valanciunas led the popgun Raps offense with 15 points, making half of his 10 shots, and also in rebounds with 9. Patrick Patterson was a contributor to the game-deciding Q4 run, and finished with 10 points. Vasquez, who looks increasingly comfortable as Kyle’s backup at the point, was plus-16 for the game, reflecting his contribution to the winning rally.

Take heart, Raps fans. We still got a road win, despite the shabby effort. However, the Raps play the powerhouse Indiana Pacers tonight at the Air Canada Centre. If Toronto shoots like it did in Chicago, the game will be out of reach by halftime.

Brian Boake is Senior Editor 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.

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Tags: Chicago Bulls Toronto Raptors

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