On Dec. 13, the Chicago Bulls acquired point guard D.J. Augustin from free agency. The team that released him, the Toronto Raptors, was just not able to fit him in and find him minutes. Since his signing with Chicago, the Bulls have had two home losses at the hands of Toronto. Their meeting tonight marked the first time since Augustin was released that he would be facing his former team in Toronto.
To say that the game was chippy would be a bit of an understatement. There were multiple skirmishes that occurred under the basket, and at the center of the two most prominent ones was power forward Tyler Hansbrough. Both times you would have thought that he was playing hockey after colliding with Nazr Mohammed and Mike Dunleavy Jr.
Additionally, the referees were tossing out technicals left and right. This just didn’t seem like the kind of game where the Bulls were mentally strong all the way throughout. The story of the first half was the Bulls’ ability to play tough basketball on both ends and get the oppositions top players in foul trouble.
The second half was a much different story. The scoring was somewhat stalled and there were too many possessions that ended up with negative results. As the case has been for a good portion of his tenure in a Bulls uniform, Augustin was able to provide big play late in his minutes coming off the bench. His 19 points and four three pointers helped Chicago maintain the space needed to hold off Toronto’s fourth quarter surge.
As Stacey King said during the telecast, Augustin is not one to show a great deal of emotion during a game unless it is warranted. You should have seen his expression after making a clutch three pointer to beat the shot clock. He definitely took his return to Canada very personally tonight.
Both teams are entering the second half of the season hoping to contend for the third seed in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. Toronto is currently sitting in that spot, but their loss tonight leaves them only a half game ahead of Chicago for the seed.