This win against the Raptors is a quality victory for the Bulls, as the Raptors have given the Bulls fits all season and looked like a bad matchup overall. This time around, the Bulls used their physicality and stifling defense to shut down the Raptors’ offensive attack. There was some skirmishes and physical play among some players, as the Raptors’ Tyler Hansbrough, who has always been an instigator and a antagonist, got into it with Nazr Mohammad and Mike Dunleavy Jr. The Bulls, who loves to engage in these types of battles, did what they had to do to win.
The Bulls are really putting it together at the right time, as the continuity and chemistry is really showing up, especially in these close types of games. Earlier in the year, the Bulls did not have much trust with each other to get things done in close games; they did not know who would step up and knock down shots. Now, they play well down the stretch collectively.
Jimmy Butler, who has struggled to find his rhythm all season, made the play of the game, as he made a huge defensive stop by blocking DeMar DeRozan‘s shot with three seconds left. The Bulls also had another balanced attack; Carlos Boozer scored 20 points and D. J. Augustin had 19 points against his former team. Kirk Hinrich added 19 points, Butler had 16, and Joakim Noah continued his All-Star performance with eight points and 13 assists.
The second half of the season couldn’t have started any better for the Bulls. They are playing the type of defense coach Tom Thibodeau loves, and they are not panicking when things get tight. Those things will only help them now and in the near future as they gear up for the playoffs.