Bulls beat Raptors but lose Zach LaVine to right ankle injury – NBC Sports Chicago
Submitted by National Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich
The Chicago Bulls used a balanced scoring approach to beat the Toronto Raptors 116-110 on Thursday night. Here are 10 notes:
— The Bulls appeared to avoid an injury scare when Zach LaVine returned from rolling his right ankle with 5 minutes, 40 seconds left in the third quarter. LaVine stepped on Jontay Porter’s foot on a drive with 10:39 left in the third round and walked straight to the locker room, throwing in a towel in frustration as he left.
–But LaVine exited just 2:20 into the fourth quarter and didn’t finish the game, leaving for good with 7:23 remaining. He finished with eight points on a season-low seven shots and committed four fouls. This is a continuation of LaVine’s trend in the seven games since his return from a 17-game absence due to inflammation in his right foot. LaVine said he is focusing more on defense and preparing his teammates. He had attempted eight shots in two of his first six games before Thursday and entered the Raptors game averaging just 11.8 shots in his first six games.
— The Bulls scored a season-high 74 points in the paint as Nikola Vucevic celebrated the smaller Raptors lineup with 24 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists. The Bulls had a brief stretch in the second quarter where they failed to fully recognize matchups favorable to Vučević but did a good job of finding him.
— Along those lines, the Bulls recorded 30 assists and shot more than 50 percent again, hitting 52.7 percent. DeMar DeRozan (24 points, six assists) and Coby White (23 points, four assists) helped Vucevic on the offensive side.
— Patrick Williams returned from a two-game absence due to right ankle soreness that also led to a sore heel. Donovan said after Tuesday’s practice in Chicago that there is nothing structurally wrong with the ankle and that Williams is trying to overcome the pain for the most part but that Williams will have to be more prepared about moving forward with the stuck situation.
— Williams came off the bench as coach Billy Donovan kept Alex Caruso in the starting lineup. Williams finished with 12 points in 23 minutes.
— The Raptors ended a winning streak at home, defeating Miami on Wednesday night after trading leading scorer Pascal Siakam to the Indiana Pacers. But this game marked the debut of Bruce Brown, who finished with 15 points in 25 minutes.
— Vučević had 10 points, five rebounds and three assists in his first role as the Bulls took advantage of a smaller Raptors lineup to score 24 of his season-high 38 first-quarter points in the paint. The Bulls built a 14-point lead in the first quarter.
— The Raptors rallied in the second half as the Bulls briefly stopped searching for Vučević and settled for jumpers after he checked in with 8 minutes, 14 seconds left in the first half. But by halftime, they had rediscovered the formula that had given them the lead in the first quarter. They had 42 points in the first half, just three shy of their season average.
—Williams is back and so is Donovan’s 10-man rotation—sort of. Jevon Carter scored just three minutes into the first half. Donovan typically prefers to use a nine-man rotation system.
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