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Jan 29, 2024 2:34 pm

Bulls return home to face reeling Raptors

The Chicago Bulls look to continue their recent strong play at home on Tuesday night when they face the reeling Toronto Raptors.

The Bulls won 10 of their last 14 home games before their just-concluded three-game road trip. They fell short in the first two stops before posting a 104-96 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday.

“At the end of the road trip, it’s tough,” Chicago coach Billy Donovan said. “We had an emotional loss in Phoenix (115-113 on Jan. 22). I think we were really disappointed with the way we played against the Lakers (a 141-132 setback on Thursday). It’s a hard-to-play place here. And we found a way to make enough plays when our shooting wasn’t great.”

DeMar DeRozan followed up a 32-point performance versus the Lakers on Thursday by scoring 12 of his 20 points against the Trail Blazers in the fourth quarter. He finished with seven rebounds and six assists versus Portland.

DeRozan, who spent his first nine NBA seasons with Toronto, has flourished against the Raptors in three meetings this season. He erupted for 33 points in a 104-103 overtime victory on Oct. 27, 19 in a 121-108 setback in Toronto on Nov. 24 and 24 in a 116-110 road win on Jan. 18.

Ayo Dosunmu collected 11 points and five assists on Sunday while being elevated into the starting lineup in place of Patrick Williams, who is sidelined by a left foot injury. Dosunmu sank a 3-pointer with 21.1 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to give Chicago some breathing room against the Trail Blazers.

“In those instances, you try not to think and just trust your instincts,” Dosunmu said, per NBC Chicago. “I understand we needed a good shot. They were trapping DeMar. I thought about driving but I hit Vooch (Nikola Vucevic) on the baseline. Once Vooch had it, I’m ready to shoot. He hit me back. Coach Donovan always tells me to be ready, have my eyes on the rim.”

While Chicago is coming off a positive, Toronto has dropped five in a row and nine of its last 10 following a 126-125 setback to the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday.

New acquisition Jordan Nwora recorded 24 points, nine rebounds and six assists off the bench for the Raptors, who were without starters RJ Barrett (knee swelling), Immanuel Quickley (quadriceps contusion) and Jakob Poeltl (ankle sprain).

“When this situation arises, it is an opportunity for another player,” Raptors coach Darko Rajakovic said. “I look at it that way. We will try our best to compete in every game.”

Scottie Barnes collected 24 points and eight assists on Sunday. He had 22 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in the October meeting in Chicago, then 13, 10 and six versus the Bulls the following month and 31, seven and six on Jan. 18.

The Raptors have dropped five in a row on the road to fall to 6-17 away from home this season.

–Field Level Media

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