Raptors a quarter short

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:55 AM ET

CHICAGO -- The Raptors blew into the Windy City last night, and boy did they blow.

At least in the second quarter.

And that was enough.

In a game that started so promising for the visitors from north of the border, the Raptors, for whatever reason, stopped sharing the ball and ceased to play defence in the second. At the same time, their shooting, dead-on in the opening 12 minutes, went ice cold during the second quarter (5-for-19).

And when all was said and done, the Raptors fell 113-104 and now have lost two games in a row.

The game last night also marked the 11th consecutive defeat against the Bulls. Toronto has not triumphed over Chicago since Dec. 6, 2002.

To their credit, the Raptors refused to throw in the towel and made a game of it in the second half.

"I wouldn't say we ran out of gas, they beat us," Raptors forward Jalen Rose said. "They made shots and plays when they needed it and they found a way to close out the paint. (They) kept us a perimetre-oriented team and attacked the basket."

After falling behind by 20 points (71-51) in the third, the purple and white stormed back to within eight with one quarter remaining. Matt Bonner nailed a three-pointer with eight minutes left in the fourth to bring Toronto to within two (89-87), but the Raptors dug just too big a hole out of which to climb.

"That's what we've been doing the whole season, digging holes. And we can't do that," said Chris Bosh, who led all scorers with 26 points. "I'm not sure what happened in the second, but we have to stay behind each other and keep giving each other confidence by moving the ball and trusting each other."

Bosh jammed his right hand late in the game, but said the injury will not keep him out of action.

Early foul trouble also set the table for the loss.

FOULS

The Raptors opened the game by shooting 7-for-7 from the field, and led by as many as eight points in the opening quarter before running up the foul tally.

Starting centre Rafael Araujo picked up two before a minute had expired and was replaced by Aaron Williams. Joey Graham was then replaced by Rose after the rookie picked up his second foul four minutes into the contest. Before long, Williams also had three in the quarter and was replaced by Bonner.

Three minutes into the second quarter, Bonner picked up his second personal. The Red Rocket played well, though. Although his shooting was not up to snuff, Bonner played hard on defence and picked up nine rebounds with four assists and seven points. Toronto had 27 fouls to Chicago's 17.

Mike James registered a double-double for the Raptors with 14 points and 13 assists, a career-high. Rose had 24 off the bench.

The Raptors set a season-high with 31 assists.

Kirk Hinrich had a double-double for Chicago with 25 points and 11 assists while forward Luol Deng chipped in 21.

The loss dropped Toronto to 11-24. Chicago improved to 15-19.


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