CHICAGO -- DeMar DeRozan scored 20 points and the Toronto Raptors survived a crazy finish to pull out a 101-98 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night at the United Center.
After leading by 16 points with just over eight minutes remaining, Toronto watched the advantage shrink to two in the final minute.
With the Bulls trailing 101-97 and 10.6 seconds on the clock, Chicago guard Nate Robinson went to the foul line, made the first shot and missed the second. The rebound was tipped onto the baseline, and after watching a video replay, the referees called for a jump ball.
Toronto won the tap easily but couldn't control the ball. Bulls forward Carlos Boozer picked it up and from his knees fired a pass to Robinson at the top of the key. The pass slipped through Robinson's hands, however. He avoided a backcourt violation by saving it off Toronto's Amir Johnson. Robinson picked it up, but his potential tying 3-pointer from just inside half-court was not close.
Rudy Gay added 19 points for the Raptors. Johnson, Kyle Lowry and Terrence Ross scored 13 points each.
Toronto had its shooting touch from the opening tip. The Raptors raced to an 18-3 lead, hitting seven of their first nine shots from the field.
By halftime, the short-handed Bulls trimmed the lead to 54-50, but the stat sheet provided a good indication of how the game was going for Toronto. The Raptors shot 54.1 percent in the first half, and just 20 of their 54 points were scored in the paint. The outside jumpers were falling all night long.
Toronto built an even larger lead in the third quarter, pulling ahead 76-60 with 3:26 left on a Gay 3-pointer. The advantage was 91-75 with 8:16 left in the game when the Bulls made a push.
Robinson capped a 10-0 run with a 3-point basket that pulled Chicago within 91-85 with 5:34 left. Toronto responded with a Jonas Valanciunas pump fake and driving slam, then a baseline drive by Lowry sent the lead back to 10 points.
A Robinson 3-pointer, followed by two free throws from Boozer, brought the Bulls within 99-97 with 16.8 seconds left. DeRozan hit two at the line to send the lead back to four points with 13.4 on the clock.
Chicago's Jimmy Butler scored a career-high 28 points, Robinson had 22 and Boozer finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds.
After starting Robinson at shooting guard on Sunday at Detroit, Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau thought the move messed up the team's second unit. So Marco Belinelli was the starter on Tuesday. However, after missing seven of the eight previous games with an abdominal strain, he had trouble keeping up with the Raptors' athletic lineup.
The Bulls have been tough to figure out all season. They are just 22-17 at home, with losses to many of the league's worst teams -- Charlotte, New Orleans, Phoenix, Cleveland and Portland before this one.
At the same time, Chicago is 5-1 against Eastern Conference leaders Miami and New York, and won three of four games against potential first-round playoff opponent Brooklyn.
NOTES: Just last week, Thibodeau told reporters that Richard Hamilton was not close to returning from a back injury. So it was a mild surprise when Hamilton played against Toronto, his first game action since Feb. 26. "He's been out a long time, so there's going to be some rust, but he's an excellent playmaker, so he has the ability to make other people better," Thibodeau said before the game. ... The Bulls played without Luol Deng (sore hip), Joakim Noah (plantar fasciitis), Taj Gibson (knee sprain) and Derrick Rose (knee surgery). ... Chicago center Nazr Mohammed flew to Atlanta after Monday's practice to catch the NCAA title game. Mohammed played for Lousiville coach Rick Pitino at Kentucky. ... These teams meet again Friday in Toronto.