Season comes to an end

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:18 AM ET

CHICAGO -- The highlight for the Raptors last night came when the United Center buzzer sounded to end the game.

And, mercifully, the season.

The Raptors, who finished the year at 27-55, didn't pass the ball, shoot very well or play defence. Other than that, last night's 127-106 loss to the Chicago Bulls wasn't that bad.

Raptors head coach Sam Mitchell said prior to the game that he was looking forward to seeing how his young players would react to a lot of minutes. The Raptors were without four key forwards, Chris Bosh (sprained left thumb), Matt Bonner (sprained left ankle), Eric Williams (strained left oblique muscle) and Mike James (right groin strain).

The reaction wasn't great, save for the efforts of rookie Charlie Villanueva and Morris Peterson. Villanueva had 29 points and 10 rebounds, for his 11th double-double of the season, while Peterson, the lone veteran on the court for Toronto for most of the night, scored 29.

"We understood that it was going to be a trying year, a year for learning and growing," Mitchell said. "As long as the guys understand what it takes to come and play and improve on what they need to improve on, then it has been worth it."

Toronto shot 35% from the field (33-for-94). The 41-41 Bulls shot 54%.

BULL OWN RAPS

Kirk Hinrich, with 17 points and 10 assists, and Andres Nocioni, with 14 points and 11 boards, recorded double-doubles for the Bulls while Ben Gordon had 24 points, six boards and seven assists.

The win was the 13th in a row for Chicago over Toronto. The Bulls have not lost to the Raptors since Dec. 6, 2002, at the Air Canada Centre.

The Raptors trailed by as much as 26 in the first half, but went on a 23-7 at the end of the second quarter and trailed 68-58 at the half.


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