NBA: Raptors roll with the punches to take down Bulls

A fight breaks out between Raptors forward Serge Ibaka (No. 9) and Bulls centre Robin Lopez in the third quarter of their NBA clash. Both players were ejected before Toronto completed a comeback to win 122-120 in overtime.
A fight breaks out between Raptors forward Serge Ibaka (No. 9) and Bulls centre Robin Lopez in the third quarter of their NBA clash. Both players were ejected before Toronto completed a comeback to win 122-120 in overtime.PHOTO: REUTERS

TORONTO • The Toronto Raptors showed fight in more than one way in the National Basketball Association (NBA) on Tuesday night.

They fought back from 15 points down in the fourth quarter to beat the Chicago Bulls 122-120 in overtime.

DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors with 42 points - one shy of his career best. In gaining their third straight win, the Raptors fought off the hold the Bulls have had on them in recent seasons, ending an 11-game losing streak against them.

Raptors forward Serge Ibaka showed another kind of fight when he was involved in a skirmish with Bulls centre Robin Lopez near the basket after Jimmy Butler's three-pointer gave Chicago a 16-point lead with 3min 59sec to play in the third quarter.

Ibaka and Lopez were ejected for fighting. Ibaka had 16 points and Lopez finished with 12.

"I think it was just a really physical game for everybody, it just kind of hit a flashpoint," Lopez said.

"It seemed like I had three guys on me, I was being pulled back. He (Ibaka) just kept coming at me with his arm. I was just trying to get him off me."

However, Lopez said the punch Ibaka threw only grazed him.

"What happened is that he was playing physical basketball and he got frustrated," Ibaka rebutted.

"We started to push each other like (it) always happens when there's contact and then he threw the punch. Like man I'm just going to defend myself."

Cory Joseph added 19 points for the Raptors (42-29). P.J. Tucker added eight points and 12 rebounds.

Butler had 37 points and 10 rebounds to lead Chicago (33-38). Rajon Rondo added 24 points and Paul Zipser scored 12.

"The biggest thing is we didn't handle their pressure well," Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said.

"They got into us, they turned us over, just a couple of mindless ones that got them easy baskets, got them back into the game, got their confidence (up) and got them momentum."

Raptors coach Dwane Casey was happy with his team's performance regardless of the result.

"It felt great, in the fact that win, lose or draw, I felt we were scrapping, competing and that's all you can ask for from your team at this time of year," he said.

REUTERS


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 23, 2017, with the headline 'Raptors roll with the punches to take down Bulls'. Print Edition | Subscribe