Dec 31, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas (17) and Chicago Bulls shooting guard Jimmy Butler (21) fight for the ball during the second quarter at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Total Team Effort Leads to Toronto Raptors Win


 

The Toronto Raptors closed out 2013 and came away with the victory over the Chicago Bulls last night with a score of 85-79.

On an offensively challenged night for both teams, Jonas Valanciunas lead the way with 15 points and 9 rebounds, as he battled Joakim Noah. Noah was held to just 7 points, but did haul in an impressive 16 rebounds. The Bulls, while still being Coach Tom Thibodeau’s team, just cannot put up enough points to compete nightly.

Three other Raptors scored in double digits: Kyle Lowry had 13 points, Demar Derozan had 11, and Patrick Patterson chipped in off the bench with 10. Greivis Vasquez and Amir Johnson had 9 points apiece, solidifying the all around effort and securing a tough fought win.

With the victory the Toronto Raptors pushed their record to 14-15 and remain in first place in the Atlantic division. With a three game winning streak on the line, the Raptors are back at it, hosting the Indiana Pacers tonight.

Look for Valanciunas to dictate the evening, as he will have to ensure Pacers big man Roy Hibbert is contained. Paul George will have to be kept in check, and it looks as if Terrence Ross will have to handle the duties if he gets extended run tonight. John Salmons might figure to get the assignment, if Ross is unable to keep George off the stat sheet.

The Toronto Raptors are playing with extreme cohesion, and have a good opportunity to prove to themselves that they can hang with an elite team. A win tonight will give the Raptors a boost as they head into a pair of road games against the Wizards and Heat.

 

 

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