NBA: Raptors Finally Tackle the Bulls

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(Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

By: Rossy Pasternak

The Toronto Raptors have finally beaten Chicago Bulls. The Raptors had lost 11 straight games against their rivals from the South Side before the contest last night.

The Raptors really had to battle in this one, coming back from what was at one point a 16 point deficit. The turning point had to be when Serge Ibaka and Robin Lopez got into a fistfight after a made 3 by Jimmy Butler in the 3rd quarter. Both players got 5 minute majors for fighting – joking, obviously, they got thrown out – and the raucous Toronto crowd got something to cheer about.

The fight seemed to wake up the Raptors, in particular, backup PG Fred Van Vleet. He played 20 minutes, and although he only racked up 6 points, 3 boards and 1 assist, he played feisty D, coming up with 2 huge steals late in the game.

Van Vleet and the bench ignited the run, but DeMar DeRozan finished it off. Whether it was dishing it off to PJ Tucker for two huge corner threes in the fourth, coming up with huge defensive rebounds late in the game, or scoring, DeMar impacted the game on every possession. Demar finished with 42 points, 7 rebounds and 8 assists, and scored or assisted on the majority of the Raptors points late in the game and in OT.

It seemed that when Lopez was ejected, the Bulls had no one who could protect the rim. That freed up DeMar for easy drives to the basket, and relatively easy and-one’s. Van Vleet also did an exceptional job taking over for lowry in the PG-SG brush screen. Van Vleet would set a quick screen on Jimmy Butler, who was guarding DeRozan, and then quickly flash out to the other wing. That would usually force Rondo, who was covering Van Vleet, to switch onto DeMar. Once that happened, it was game over.

The fight awoke the beast that is DeMar DeRozan, who’s statement “I got us” still echoes throughout the halls of the ACC. While this is no doubt DeMar’s team, he didn’t do it alone last night. Great games by PJ Tucker and Patrick Patterson helped the Raptors along the way.

The curse is broken, and the Raptors are getting along fine without Kyle Lowry.

Damn I can’t wait until he’s back.

All statistics were taken from ESPN.com

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