Deng's OT jumper boosts Bulls past Raptors

The SportsXchange

TORONTO -- Luol Deng sat at his locker in the Chicago Bulls' dressing room with an ice pack on his right thigh.

He tweaked his right hamstring while running in the first quarter Wednesday, but he did not let that stop him from playing nearly 48 minutes and hitting the winning 18-foot, pull-up jumper with 3.3 seconds to play in overtime in the Bulls' 107-105 victory over the Raptors.

"It was a good play. (Carlos) Boozer faked the screen, his man went with him," Deng said. "I was just patient and just tried to get a good shot."

Toronto had one last chance, but Jose Calderon missed a 28-foot 3-point attempt at the buzzer.

It was a game the Bulls nearly slip away. They led by as many as 19 points during the third quarter, but Toronto came back to tie the game 100-100 when Amir Johnson made one of two free throws with 12.1 seconds to play in the fourth quarter.

"It was tough," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. "We missed nine free throws (out of 32 attempts), and that is huge. But I commended our guys for the way they competed. Everyone that stepped onto that court competed."

Boozer finished with a season-high 36 points, and he added 12 rebounds and three assists. Deng contributed 19 points and seven assists. Joakim Noah had 16 points and 14 rebounds, and Richard Hamilton scored 15 points and Marco Belinelli had 10 for the Bulls.

The Raptors, who lost their third game in a row, got 27 points from reserve forward Alan Anderson before he fouled out in overtime. Kyle Lowry added 26 points and seven assists off the bench, and DeMar DeRozan contributed 18 points. Ed Davis had 11 points, while Calderon had nine points and six assists.

After an Anderson turnover, the Bulls took the lead in overtime on a tip by Noah following a missed shot by Deng. Anderson made one of two free throws with 3:08 to play, and following a review by the officials, Toronto was awarded the ball after it went out of bounds.

Johnson missed a hook shot, but Nate Robinson missed at other end.

After Lowry missed a 3-point attempt, Boozer made a driving layup with 1:51 to play to give Chicago a 104-101 lead.

Anderson cut the deficit to one with a driving jumper. Toronto won a jump ball with 1:12 to play but could not convert it at the other end, as Lowry turned the ball over and Anderson fouled out -- no free throw was awarded -- with 54.7 seconds left. Chicago retained possession with 35.9 seconds left after an officials' review.

After a DeRozan foul, Belinelli hit one of two free throws to give Chicago a 105-103 lead. Lowry tied it with a five-foot driving jump shot with 8.7 seconds left. Chicago came back to take the lead on Deng's shot that proved to be the winner.

"I think (Deng) made a great read," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "(Belinelli) did a great job of getting it in; there were some good screens set. (Boozer) did a good job of slipping, and then that's Lu's big strength there. Big shot."

It was a really big shot from a player who could have been forgiven for sitting out at some point instead of playing nearly the whole game.

"I was going to come out, but I just felt like I had to play through it," Deng said. "Coach and the training staff kept asking me how I felt. Hopefully it won't be too bad tomorrow, it's just one of those nagging injuries."

The Raptors lamented their missed chances.

"They got a couple of offensive rebounds that killed us," Anderson said. "We missed a couple of free throws down the stretch and a couple of open shots. It's the second-chance points and those possessions that they had to score again."

The Bulls led by as many as 19 points during the third quarter, only to have the Raptors cut it to six entering the fourth quarter.

NOTES: Calderon (hip pointer) and Lowry (sprained left ankle) both played Wednesday despite suffering injuries in Tuesday's loss to the Nets at Brooklyn. ... Lowry was hurt in the first quarter Tuesday but returned to score 19 of his team-high 21 points in the fourth quarter. Calderon was injured in Tuesday's third quarter and did not return for the fourth. ... Anderson suffered some damage to a tooth in Tuesday's game. .. The Bulls held the Atlanta Hawks to 20 points in the first half in their 97-58 win on Monday, tied for the second-fewest points allowed in the first half in NBA history. "I don't know if it's happy," Thibodeau said before Wednesday's game when asked how he felt about that performance. "But I want guys to do their job. You're always striving for perfection knowing you can't attain it. But you want to see how close you can get to it. I want our concentration to be on improvement each and every day." ... The Raptors visit the Philadelphia 76ers for their next game on Friday. ... The Bulls visit the Boston Celtics on Friday.
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