Minus Derrick Rose, the Chicago Bulls needed a late rally to beat the Toronto Raptors earlier this week.
With their injured star likely out again, the Eastern Conference-leading Bulls try for their second victory in as many games against the Raptors on Saturday night at the United Center.
Trailing by as many as 12 points in the second half Wednesday, Chicago (39-10) outscored Toronto 32-13 in the fourth quarter en route to a 94-82 road victory. Luol Deng had 17 points with 10 rebounds while point guards C.J. Watson and John Lucas went a combined 5 of 10 from 3-point range and totaled 28 points as the Bulls won their third in a row.
Chicago is 11-4 this season without Rose, who remains day to day with a sore groin.
"This team, we have a lot of pieces that fit really well together,'' said swingman Kyle Korver, who scored 10 off the bench. "We all have different strengths and we try to play to our strengths.
Chicago overcame a 43.9-percent shooting effort and 14 turnovers at Toronto to win for the 14th time in 16 games.
"You have to win games different ways,'' coach Tom Thibodeau said. "If you're going to be a good team, that's what you have to do.''
Watson and Lucas continue to hold their own in place of Rose. Lucas, who scored all 13 of his points in the fourth quarter, has totaled 33 on 13-of-24 shooting (54.2 percent) in the last two games.
"We're so deep that there's always guys somehow, somewhere, who are going to get it going,'' said Deng, averaging 18.3 points in the last six games versus Toronto.
Chicago, winner of three in a row and six of seven versus Toronto, has outscored the Raptors 53-25 in the fourth quarter of the teams' two meetings this season. The Bulls have won the last three against the Raptors at the United Center by an average margin of 13.3 points. They held the Raptors (16-32) to 34.9 percent shooting during a 77-64 home win Jan. 14.
"They're one of the best defensive teams in the league,'' Toronto coach Dwane Casey said. "When you know that a championship team is turning up the screws, you have to make every play. There's no room for negotiations.''
DeMar DeRozan scored 23 points against the Bulls on Wednesday, but it's uncertain if the Toronto swingman will be able to go in this contest after he was injured during Friday's 96-79 home win over New York. DeRozan scored a season-high 30 points on 11-of-17 shooting to help the Raptors snap a three-game skid, but he hobbled off the court after colliding with teammate Jose Calderon late in the contest.
"I came down and tweaked my ankle a little bit,'' DeRozan said. "It was just a little scare. It's a little sore. Try to get it ready for the (Saturday night).''
DeRozan has averaged 21.6 points on 50.6 percent shooting in the last five games, and 21.2 in the last five versus Chicago.
Andrea Bargnani added 21 points Friday for the Raptors, who had lost seven of 10 prior to that contest but led by as many as 22 against the Knicks.