The Bulls Tuesday couldn’t beat the Raps. But they scared them in a comeback from 23 points behind to within a basket in the fourth quarter. Toronto held off the Bulls spirited and unlikely charge in a 119-114 victory.
The Bulls were led by Bobby Portis with 21 points and 13 rebounds. Robin Lopez had 20 points. Justin Holiday had 15 points, Denzel Valentine 14 and Kris Dunn 10 points, six rebounds and four steals.
The Bulls closed with a small, quicker lineup with Portis, Markkanen, Dunn, Valentine and Holiday.
Portis made his return after his eight-game suspension following his altercation with teammate Nikola Mirotic. The Bulls were also without David Nwaba, who sustained a sprained ankle Saturday and could be out a month. Antonio Blakeney was brought in from the Windy City Bulls. Portis made his first appearance with 6:14 left in the first quarter when Markkanen got his second foul. Portis had five points with a three the rest of the first quarter. Lopez had eight points as the Bulls trailed 29-26 after one quarter. The Bulls were remaining competitive, trailing 47-39 midway through the second quarter after a pair of Kay Felder threes. But then with three Bulls turnovers, Toronto took control with scores in seven consecutive possessions. The Raptors in moving more to a motion offense from their former pick and roll had the Bulls scrambling and repeatedly got inside for scores and a 65-45 halftime lead. Toronto shot 58.5 percent in the first half and seven of 13 on threes. Toronto almost doubled the Bulls on inside points. The Bulls again had difficulty finding Markkanen, who had just five shots among the Bulls’ 40 in the first half. Starters Paul Zipser, Jerian Grant and Holiday were a combined one of 13 in the half.
The Bulls made a little run to start the second half with Lopez adding a rolling half hook to his excellent shooting game. The Bulls scored on eight of their first 10 possessions to start the second half to get only within 78-63 after a Holiday three and three free throws on a foul on a three. But the Raptors continued to score easily and even with the Bulls having a big 36-point third quarter, the Bulls trailed 98-81 entering the fourth quarter. Both teams were a scorching 12 of 17 in the third quarter with Lopez adding another 10 points. The Bulls then made that late fourth quarter run after trailing by 15 with just over six minutes remaining.