Raptors try to stop charging Bulls
The Toronto Raptors are relishing their role as spoilers.
Even though the Raptors are poised to miss the playoffs for the first time in three seasons, they aren't simply playing out the string for the remainder of the NBA campaign, having won their last three games.
Toronto will try to make it four in a row when the Chicago Bulls are visit in the finale of a five-game homestand on Sunday (CBC, 3:30 p.m. ET).
Winners of four straight, the Bulls sport a 36-38 record and are currently tied for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with Charlotte and Milwaukee just a few games back and hot on their trail.
Chicago has fought into playoff contention on the strength of some outstanding shooting, averging 49.3 per cent and 106.8 points per game in the last eight contests.
"It's a lot of fun being out there with other guys who are making big plays and are taking tough shots," said Bulls guard Ben Gordon.
A victory against Toronto (27-45) will be tough for Chicago, though, as the Raptors have looked pretty impressive as of late, including a 112-96 win over the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night.
Chris Bosh led the way with 21 points and 13 rebounds for Toronto, which also won three straight in late January. It was the forward's 11th double-double in his last 16 games.
Four other Raptors — Shawn Marion, Jason Kapono, Andrea Bargnani, and Anthony Parker — reached double digits against the Thunder.
"We're moving the ball, when everybody is getting off the ball and making quick-decision passes, it makes the game that much easier," said Marion.
Toronto got off to a quick start thanks to some aggressive defence. The Thunder turned the ball over five times in the first quarter, leading to 12 points by the Raptors.
"We knew we wanted to come out and play aggressive on defence," Bosh said. "We tried to protect the paint and give them one contested shot. When we did that, we got out and ran and everyone was touching the ball. It was fun basketball."
The Raptors visit the Orlando Magic on Wednesday.
With files from the Associated Press