Big win, that's no bull

STEVE BUFFERY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:15 AM ET

CHICAGO -- The Raptors were like the Starship Enterprise last night, boldly going where no Toronto team had gone before. At least not since Dec. 6, 2002.

That was the previous time Toronto had recorded a win against Chicago before embarking on a 15-game losing streak.

Last night, on the strength of big games by Chris Bosh, who sunk two free throws with 2.1 seconds left for the win, and Jose Calderon, the Raptors finally broke that streak, holding on for a 112-111 victory at the United Center -- although the outcome was in doubt until the last few seconds.

"I knew were going to win the game," Bosh said afterward. "It was just how we were going to win it. I knew I had to step up and make a big play."

That's exactly what he did.

The Raptors held a 12 point lead with just over four minutes in the game but fell behind by a point after Ben Gordon scored on a layup to tie it 110-110 with 12.8 seconds left, and was fouled by T.J. Ford. Gordon converted on the free throw and Chicago had the lead for the first time since the middle of the third quarter, and the fans at the United Center went nuts.

The cheering turned to boos a few seconds later when Tyrus Thomas fouled Bosh under the basket. Prior to the foul, Ford took the ball in for a layup and missed but forced Thomas to leave Bosh. Bosh grabbed the rebound and was fouled. He then stepped to the line and methodically sunk both for the victory, the first win for a Raptors team against Chicago with Bosh on the roster.

"Make it," said Bosh, when asked what was going through his mind when he stepped up to the charity stripe. "That's all -- make it. I was talking to T.J. a couple of days ago, and we were talking about game-winning free throws. He asked if I think about it, and I said, 'No, I just shoot.' And he said, 'Man, think about it.' So I thought about making it and I stepped up and I made it."

After Gordon had put Chicago ahead, Raptors head coach Sam Mitchell called a timeout.

"Everybody was still calm and it was like everybody knew what they had to do," said Toronto's Anthony Parker. "We looked up at the clock and there was 12 seconds left and we were down by one with the ball. Before the game if you asked, 'Do you want this situation?' I think a lot of us would take it."

The win improved Toronto to 28-24 on the season, one more victory than all of last season, and extended their lead over New Jersey on top of the Atlantic Division to 31/2 games.

"We're trying to win basketball games," said Mitchell, when asked if he relieved that he won't have to answer questions about the streak anymore. "If you lose to Chicago and you beat everybody else, I'll take 78-4."

Calderon finished one assist off a double-double, picking up nine with 16 points. Rookie forward Andrea Bargnani scored 22 off the bench, shooting 7-for-12 from the field, along with three rebounds.

Bulls forward Luol Deng led all scorers with 30 points, while Gordon had 26, and point guard Kirk Hinrich picked up a double-double, 18 points and 13 assists.

REPORT CARD

A + Offence: The late meltdown could be forgiven, considering the Raps' scored 112 points and shot 54% against a team that has held opponents to 43% shooting.

D Defence: Had no answer for the speedy Bulls, particularly forward Luol Deng, who went 15-23.

The Bulls shot 53% for the game, including an impressive 8-13 from long range.


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