Rose, Bulls topple Raptors
Rookie Derrick Rose scored 17 of his team-high 25 points in the fourth quarter as the Chicago Bulls eked out a 102-98 victory over the Toronto Raptors at the Air Canada Centre on Wednesday night.
Rose went 12 of 18 from the floor, including eight of nine shots in the fourth, and doled out 10 assists, while Luol Deng poured in 16 points and pulled down 14 rebounds.
"He was feeling it," Deng said of Rose. "Just give him the ball and get out of the way."
"I was just trying to let it come," Rose explained. "I knew that me driving would open up a lot of things, so I was just trying to get my teammates open."
Joakim Noah preserved Chicago's 100-98 lead with a key block on a twisting Chris Bosh with 5.9 seconds remaining.
"It feels great to win and be a part of it," Noah said.
"I give Joakim a lot of credit," Bulls rookie head coach Vinny Del Negro said. "He was sitting there [on the bench] for a bit, and I called his number and he came out and made a big play for us."
Noah kept the two-point lead intact by refusing to bite on Bosh's initial move.
"I knew he was going to try to pump fake," Noah said. "He pump fakes a lot.
"I didn't go for his first pump fake and the shot clock was going down, so I knew he had to get it up. I got my hand on it and got the block."
"I made the mistake of picking my dribble up after he cut off the base-line," Bosh noted. "It is not going to be the last time we're in a situation like that or I'm in a situation like that, so you just learn from it and keep going."
The Bulls (17-22) received superlative performances off the bench from veterans Andres Nocioni and Kirk Hinrich.
Nocioni had 16 points, four rebounds and three assists, while Hinrich contributed 10 points, six assists and five rebounds.
Ben Gordon chipped in with 10 points.
Andrea Bargnani paced the Raptors (16-24) with a career-high 31 points and 10 rebounds, while Bosh provided 25 points, five rebounds and four assists.
"They played great," Raptors interim head coach Jay Triano said. "We pounded it as much as we could inside and scored, but we couldn't get the bucket when we needed it."
Bosh also survived a knocking of heads with Bulls centre Aaron Gray, who suffered a black eye and needed four stitches to close a gash on his forehead.
Anthony Parker scored 15 points for Toronto, followed by Jamario Moon with 11.
'It was my fault'
Toronto took a 90-89 lead on Jason Kapono's three-point basket and Parker's jump shot with 4:23 left in the fourth quarter.
But Gordon replied with a three-pointer and Rose scored on a layup to reclaim the lead for good.
The Raptors trimmed it to two points at 100-98 on Parker's layup with 29 seconds left, and regained possession of the basketball when Kirk Hinrich coughed up the inbounds pass to Bosh.
"It was my fault," Hinrich said. "I should have just called a timeout."
Instead, the Raptors called a timeout to draw up a play and the Bulls replaced Gordon with Noah, who blocked Bosh's last-gasp jumper.
Deng completed the scoring with two free throws, sealing a third straight loss for Toronto.
With files from the Canadian Press