McDermott leads Bulls past Raptors

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 15, 2016 12:26 AM

(The Sports Xchange) - If Doug McDermott could play the Toronto Raptors every night, he would be an all-star.

Chicago's reserve forward torched the Raptors for a second straight game, pouring in a team-high 29 points as the Bulls held on for a 109-107 victory on Monday night at Air Canada Center.

"It's something about playing one of the top teams in the East gets you motivated," said McDermott, who had a career-high 30 points when the teams last met in February in Chicago.

Chicago (33-32) recorded its ninth consecutive victory over the Raptors. Toronto (44-21) has not defeated Chicago since Dec. 31, 2013.

McDermott, a second-year player averaging nine points per game, had 24 points in the first half, shooting 7-for-7 from the field, including all three of his 3-point attempts, and 7-for-8 on free throws. He wound up 9-for-11 from the floor, 4-for-5 from long range. He didn't attempt a second-half free throw.

"I was just in that zone, everything I shot felt good after I made my first couple," McDermott said of the first half. "The second half was tough just because they were all over me, but I just felt in that zone the first half and I was happy I was able to help my team win."

The Bulls led by as many as 13 points early in the fourth quarter, but the Raptors, who had won 15 of their previous 16 games at home, battled back, twice making it a one-point game in the final 20 seconds.

"I think we got into them too late defensively," said Toronto's DeMar DeRozan, who was driving for the potential game-tying basket in the final second when the Bulls' Jimmy Butler forced a turnover. "We let McDermott get into a rhythm. (E'Twaun) Moore, he got it going.

"We gave up a lot of key rebounds but even with that we were still in the game."

Nikola Mirotic finished with 17 points and five rebounds for Chicago while Moore had 17 points, four rebounds and four assists.

Kyle Lowry led the way for the Raptors with a game-high 33 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. DeRozan added 27 points and five rebounds as Toronto closed out a seven-game homestand at 5-2.

Butler, who returned to the lineup for the Bulls after missing the previous three games with a knee injury, said "maybe we bring it to play every night against them" in trying to explain the win streak against Toronto.

"A win is a win no matter how bad I played," said Butler, who finished with 13 points, six assists and five rebounds in 34 minutes. "I think we did our job and at the end of the day we won on the road.

"Big win. I am proud that we got this one."

The Raptors lost center Jonas Valanciunas in the first quarter due to a left hand injury. X-rays were negative on the big Lithuanian, who had eight points, ending his double-digit scoring streak at a career-high 17 games.

"There's nothing wrong with it, it's fine," said Toronto head coach Dwane Casey.

Casey said he thought his Raptors might have been guilty of underestimating the short-staffed Bulls, as Mike Dunleavy was out with a stomach virus and Derrick Rose continued to sit with an abductor strain.

"We were not focused going into the game," said Casey, who saw his team score the first two points of the night and never lead again. "After preaching, preaching, telling them I don't care who doesn't play, it's the same trap game."