Raging Bulls

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:01 AM ET

The Raptors play basketball like a high school kid on a big date. All they want to do is score.

Unfortunately, this is a team that continues to play defence as if it were a dirty word.

Last night, the visiting Chicago Bulls, despite playing the night before, came away with a 121-115 victory over the Raptors, shooting 58% (a season high) from the field in front of 15,881 unimpressed fans at the Air Canada Centre.

"It's disappointing, because that's all we work on," head coach Sam Mitchell said of his team's problems on defence. "Our whole practice is defence. All I know to do is to keep working on it."

Second-year guard Kirk Hinrich, who left the game late in the fourth because of two sprained fingers in his right hand, scored 28 points, shooting 11-for-16 to lead the young and emerging Bulls, who improved to 26-23 despite starting the season 0-9. Centre Eddy Curry had 25 points.

The Raptors, dropping to 21-32 heading into this weekend's all-star break, were weak on the boards, as usual. The Bulls pulled in 36 rebounds to Toronto's 25, a season-low for the Raptors.

Chris Bosh had another big game, picking up 28 points and going 11-for-13 from the free-throw line. Jalen Rose had 25 points, seven boards and five assists. Donyell Marshall, coming off the bench, scored 17 for Toronto while point guard Rafer Alston had 21, eight assists and five steals.

"We have to get back to the drawing board, we have to find a way to compete for four quarters," Rose said of the team's inconsistency.

Six of the past seven Raptors opponents have shot 50% or better from the field.

The Raptors got off to a horrendous start, falling behind 10-0.

Mitchell called a time out as the fans responded with a loud chorus of boos. The Raptors fell behind 37-34 after 12 minutes despite shooting 69% from the field. Marshall went 3-for-3 from beyond the arc in the opening quarter.

Toronto clawed back to tie the game at 43-43 early in the second quarter but fell behind again 62-58 at the half, as Hinrich picked up 18 points.

The Raptors were 8-for-13 from the three-point line in the half while the Bulls went 6-for-7.

Marshall had a huge first half off the bench, shooting 4-for-4, for 11 points, while also hustling on defence and setting Bosh and Lamond Murray up with a couple of beautiful passes under the basket.

The Raptors came alive late in the third quarter and pulled to within three points, 93-90, with 12 minutes remaining.

The Raptors now get a four-day break because of this weekend's all-star game, reconvening on Monday for a practice in New Jersey.


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