Going on the defensive

MIKE GANTER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:10 AM ET

CHICAGO -- How again did this Raptors team give up 146 points?

For the second night in a row, and in even more dominant fashion, the Raptors put distance between themselves and that shockingly indifferent performance three nights earlier in Atlanta by putting a pasting of their own on the hometown Bulls by a score of 110-78 for their ninth win and second in three games on this trip.

The 78 points were a season-low for a Raptors opponent, beating easily the mark of 89 which Raps foes hit twice, in Los Angeles against the Clippers and in the first game against the Bulls at the Air Canada Centre.

The fact that last night's win came on the end of a back-to-back, not a Raptors strong suit with four consecutive losses in those situations, only made it sweeter.

"We got off to a real good start, had good energy, good on the glass, running the ball," head coach Jay Triano said. "It was a good start for us and we were able to carry it through."

It was the kind of night when it was hard to decide what part of the Raptors game was functioning at a more efficient clip, the offence or the defence? And anyone remotely following this team this season knows how rare it is to pose such a question.

It was only a few days ago that the Raptors were on pace to become the worst defensive team in the history of the NBA.

The numbers still aren't great but they're getting quite a bit better in quite a hurry.

"We didn't realize in the past the mistakes we made," Chris Bosh said. "Now we recognize them and have admitted to those and are working to eliminate them. It has only been two games now and we still have a lot of work to do, however, it is nice to have two wins in a row."

The Raptors' intensity on defence held up through four quarters.

Granted, the energy provided by the opposition had something to do with it. Joakim Noah managed to get himself tossed out of this one with a second technical five minutes into the third quarter. He couldn't have looked less interested at that point.

Bosh was a beast on the boards, pulling down 12 rebounds, seven of them under the Bulls basket as he gave his team multiple second chances all night. He was a perfect 7-for-7 from the line and missed just three shots from the field.

Five minutes into the third quarter, Jose Calderon came out of the game favouring his left side. The team called it a left hip flexor but is saying it is not serious. Calderon said he felt a tweak in his groin but said he should be OK for Tuesday's game.

MIKE.GANTER@SUNMEDIA.CA


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