Bulls' frustration is visible after bad second half in Toronto
The Bulls experienced a familiar story in Toronto on Sunday afternoon. They played well in the first half, then weren't up to the task when the Raptors turned up the pressure in the third quarter.
The final result was a 129-102 victory for the defending champs at Scotiabank Arena. The Raptors stretched their winning streak to 11 in a row and have beaten the Bulls 12 straight times.
At the end of the game, with the camera focused on a visibly frustrated Zach LaVine on the bench, coach Jim Boylen called a timeout with 1:04 remaining and LaVine could be seem mouthing, "Why?"
"I was just upset, man," LaVine said in the locker room. "It gets frustrating when you lose games. I've been going through it the last three years here. I just gets frustrating, just like anybody else in our position. We're human. We have human reactions and feelings. We all get frustrated eventually."
Boylen explained why he called the late timeout in a lopsided game.
"I was trying to run something with that second group," Boylen said. "I've got a G-League guy (Adam Mokoka) in there that I haven't coached much. I don't stop coaching the team because we're down. I don't do that. I've never done that. I never will."
Mokoka, the Bulls' one healthy two-way player, did take a jump shot after the timeout and missed.
"We wanted to run something to get Mokoka in it so he can learn and grow," Boylen said. "Put that pressure on him and have him develop. We're trying to win and develop. That was a development moment. It would be different if we were up 20 and I called timeout. We were down 20."
The late timeout hardly matters in the long run. In their first full game without Kris Dunn, who suffered a right knee sprain early in the loss at Brooklyn on Friday, the Bulls build a 63-60 lead at halftime, thanks to some solid 3-point shooting. The Bulls hit 11 of their first 22 3-point shots, with Thaddeus Young (3-for-4) Ryan Arcidiacono (3-for-5) and Coby White (2-for-4) finding the range in the first half.
Young scored 17 of his season-high 21 points in the first half and outscored all-star starter Pascal Siakam, who finished with 17 points. LaVine had 18 points and 7 assists, ending his string of consecutive 20-point games at 17.
When the third quarter began, the Raptors crawled into the Bulls defensively and won the second half 69-39.
"They did their job to win and we threw it away," LaVine said. "Same story that we do most of the games that we lead at halftime. You've got to figure out how to stop doing that.
"We've just got to go out there and play. Nobody's going to feel sorry for you. They look at us like an easy win, try to take advantage of it."
Toronto (36-14) was led by undrafted rookie guard Terrence Davis, who knocked down 6 of 7 shots from 3-point land on his way to 31 points. The Raptors finished the day with 68 points coming from undrafted players, including Chris Boucher (15 points), Fred VanVleet (12), Matt Thomas (7) and a couple guys who played in garbage time.
Chandler Hutchison started in place of Dunn and kept up his run of strong play with 17 points. White and Arcidiacono finished with 12 each. Dunn is the Bulls' best perimeter defender and in two games without him, they've given up 133 and 129 points.
Rookie center Daniel Gafford returned to the lineup after missing nine games with a dislocated thumb. He seemed a little rusty in nine minutes of action and also turned his ankle in the first half, but Boylen expects him to be OK. The Bulls have three days off before hosting New Orleans on Thursday, which is also when the NBA trade deadline arrives.
"I thought the first half was one of our better halves," Boylen said. "The ball was moving, I think we had 16 assists, made open shots. I thought the third quarter we had the same plays to make, we didn't make them and I thought we dropped our heads a little bit in that third when the ball wasn't going in and they made their run."