Playing without Derrick Rose for the first time in six game—an entire six game!—the Bulls capitalized on an ugly shooting night from all but one of the Raptors to claim their first road win of the year and avoid starting 0-4 away from home for the first time in five years.
With about five minutes left in the second quarter, the Raptors were shooting 21.9 percent from the floor. Toronto ended up shooting 25.6 percent for the half and was 2-17 from mid-range and 0-7 from deep. That is eight percent shooting from outside of the paint.
But the Bulls couldn’t pull away—leading by just 14 at the break—because they weren’t much better. Chicago shot 6-17 from midrange and 0-4 from three, which translates to a whopping 28.5 percent.
By the end of the third though it was a 20-point game, which, considering the Raptors’ shooting, was about an insurmountable as you can get. DeMar DeRozan kept the Raptors somewhat close, but with no one else able to help him out, the Bulls were able to walk out with a victory. DeRozan tallied 37 points on 22 shots. Derozan hit 13 shots while the rest of the Raptors combined for 16 made field goals.
It was a strong step forward on the road for the Bulls, who were 0-3 away from the United Center on the year and had been giving up 103.7 points per contest. It came against a team though that was ranked 25th in the league in field goal percentage through Thursday.
It was another nice game for Carlos Boozer, who finished with 14 points, seven rebounds and six assists, with much of that damage coming early. Every Bulls starter scored in double figures, led by Luol Deng, who scored a team-high 19. Lu hit two threes tonight, after going 1-18 from deep in the first six games of the year. That can only mean one thing: Derrick Rose kills your three-point percentage.
It wasn’t easy on the eyes, but the Bulls grabbed a win without their best player. It’s not unusual though, as they don’t have anything to prove after playing without Derrick Rose all last season. They made it to the second round of the playoffs with their home-grown point guard on the sideline and that’s their peak if Kirk Hinrich has to start.
What they need now is a healthy Derrick Rose. They need Rose back in the line-up to give Derrick the opportunity to continue making steps back to his MVP level. The next chance for that is Saturday night against the undefeated Pacers. The Bulls lost by 17 to Indy in the first matchup of the year, but Chicago is 3-0 at home.