The Chicago Bulls (40-10) feel down 10 points early to the Toronto Raptors (16-33) and did not finish any regulation quarter leading the Raptors, but managed to come away with a dramatic 102-101 overtime victory in the United Center on Saturday night.
PF Jose Calderon (20 Pts, 6 Reb, 10 Ast), SF James Johnson (20 Pts, 8 Reb) and F Gary Forbes (12 Pts, 13 Reb) played exceptionally, but they could not find a solution to SF Luol Deng (23 Pts, 10 Reb, 4 Ast), PF Carlos Boozer (24 Pts, 10 Reb, 4 Ast) and PG C.J. Watson (23 Pts, 3 Reb) late in the game. After a harrowing 4th quarter comeback, the Bulls combined good luck and timely rebounding to pull out a spectacular, last-second overtime win.
Through the first four minutes of the overtime period, the Bulls and Raptors swapped twos, putting the score at 100-100 with only 30 seconds remaining. James Johnson drew a foul with 15 seconds left, but missed his first shot -- 101-100, Raptors. Then a blocked layup attempt from Deng led to another pair of free throws from Forbes -- who stunningly missed both attempts.
Getting the ball with just 6 seconds remaining, Watson drove to the net, but his jumper fell short -- until Deng appeared from the crowd and gently pushed the missed shot over the mouth of the goal. Replays showed the ball left his hand just milliseconds before the goal lit up, and the Bulls stormed from the court as the 102-101 winners.
Chicago, playing without PG Derrick Rose and SG Richard Hamilton, as well as C Joakim Noah, ejected in the first half, improve their NBA-best record to 40-10. If the Bulls manage to win the remaining 17 games of their shortened regular season schedule, the team will finish the second-best winning percentage in franchise history, behind only the 1995-1996 Bulls team.
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