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Zach LaVine unloaded a game-high 39 points and DeMar DeRozan added 23 to boost the visiting Chicago Bulls to a come-from-behind 109-105 victory against the Toronto Raptors in an Eastern Conference play-in game on Wednesday night, April 12 (Thursday, April 13, Manila time).
Chicago advances to face the Miami Heat on Friday. The winner of the game, to be played in Miami, will move on to meet the Milwaukee Bucks, the East’s top seed, in the first round of the playoffs.
The Bulls overcame a 19-point, third-quarter deficit against the Raptors. A 29-28 lead early in the second quarter, which lasted all of 19 seconds, was Chicago’s only advantage until the stretch run.
Patrick Beverley’s trey with 5:07 remaining put the Bulls ahead 96-93, a lead they didn’t relinquish.
Still, it wasn’t easy. A Pascal Siakam dunk with 19.7 seconds left brought the Raptors within 105-104. LaVine followed with a pair of free throws, and Siakam hit 1-of-3 at the line before Nikola Vucevic hit two free throws for the Bulls with 11.1 seconds left for a 109-105 lead.
Toronto missed its final two attempts from the field before LaVine corralled the last rebound.
An 18-for-36 effort from the free throw line took a toll on Toronto, which shot 43.7% from the floor compared to 48.8% for Chicago.
Siakam had 32 points for the Raptors, who got double-doubles from Fred VanVleet (26 points, 12 rebounds) and Scottie Barnes (19 points, 10 rebounds). OG Anunoby chipped in 13 points.
Vucevic posted 14 points and 13 rebounds for Chicago. Patrick Williams chipped in 10 points and Coby White had 9 points and 5 assists.
Toronto took a 58-47 lead into halftime behind a balanced effort that saw Siakam (20 points), VanVleet (14), and Barnes (11) each score in double figures.
VanVleet provided some extra breathing room for the hosts by drilling a 40-foot, buzzer-beating three-pointer.
The Raptors took two of three from the Bulls in the regular season, with the home team prevailing each time.
Chicago went 3-0 against Miami, with each game decided by at least eight points. – Rappler.com