Updated: January 16, 2013 7:56 PM | By John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press, thecanadianpress.com

Raptors force OT but lose to Bulls 107-105



TORONTO - Carlos Boozer scored a season-high 36 points as the Chicago Bulls withstood a late Toronto rally for a 107-105 overtime win on Wednesday.

Boozer, who also pulled down 12 rebounds, has been the focal point of Chicago's (22-15) offence with point guard Derrick Rose still recovering from knee surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

His 21 double-doubles lead the NBA's Eastern Conference.

Luol Deng had 19 points and seven assists for the Bulls, while Joakim Noah had a double-double with 16 points and 14 boards.

Alan Anderson came off the bench to lead Toronto (14-25) with 27 points. The six-foot-six guard did most of his damage from beyond the arc, making 4-of-9 three-point attempts. Point guard Kyle Lowry was also effective as a reserve, with 26 points, seven assists and five rebounds.

DeMar DeRozan was the Raptors best starter, scoring 18 points.

The Raptors made it close in the final minutes of the fourth, pulling to within two on Ed Davis's layup with 1:43 left in the quarter. Deng then hit two free throws for Chicago to pull ahead 99-95.

Lowry was fouled on the next play and, after video review, officials decided it was a three-point play. He made two of his free throws to pull Toronto to within two with 1:16 left in the fourth.

Chicago guard Marco Bellinelli made one of his two free throws to give the Bulls a 100-97 lead, but Lowry responded for the Raptors, making a two-foot jump shot. Landry Fields grabbed a key defensive rebound for the Raptors to give Toronto a chance at taking the lead.

Centre Amir Johnson was fouled on a rebound and his first free throw tied it 100-100. Missed shots by both teams forced the extra time.

Anderson made a driving jump shot to make it 104-103 with 1:32 left in the first overtime period. Toronto regained possession on a jump ball, but was stripped of the ball at the other end of the court.

Anderson earned his sixth foul of the game trying to recover the ball, ending his night with 54.7 seconds left in overtime.

Chicago guard Nate Robinson hit one of two free throws with 15.1 seconds left in overtime to expand the Bulls' lead to 105-103.

Toronto's reply didn't take long. Lowry tied the game 105-105 with 8.7 seconds to go on a five-foot driving jump shot, forcing Chicago to call a 20-second timeout so head coach Tom Thibodeau could draw up a winning play.

Deng hit an 18-foot pull-up jump shot to give the Bulls a 107-105 lead with 3.3 seconds in the game. A bungled play ate up 2.2 seconds of Toronto's clock and on the ensuing inbound Jose Calderon's shot from three-point range bounced off the rim.

Calderon finished the game with nine points and six assists.

The crowd and Raptors head coach Dwane Casey were obviously frustrated by the officials throughout the game.

With four minutes left to play the 18,674 fans in attendance started a loud "Ref you suck" chant, while Casey was called for a technical foul with 1:20 left in the third after he argued a call by the officials. The tech was a long time coming, as Casey has been in the refs' ear for most of the quarter.

The Raptors reserves reduced Chicago's lead to 79-73 by the end of the third. As the Toronto crowd grew louder the Raptors played with more energy.

Johnson was put into the game for Aaron Gray with just over seven minutes left in the first to a warm cheer.

Boozer got off to a quick start in the first quarter, taking advantage of the overmatched Gray. The six-foot-nine centre led Chicago to a 29-22 lead after one quarter.

DeRozan played all 12 minutes of the opening quarter and was the best Raptors player with 10 points in that span.

A pull-up jump shot by Calderon with 0.7 seconds left in the second quarter reduced Chicago's lead to 52-44. Both teams struggled with turnovers in the first half, giving up seven each. But Toronto surrendered 12 points from its slips, compared to Chicago's nine.

Notes: Anderson was back in the lineup after having a tooth chipped by Brooklyn's Brook Lopez in Tuesday night's 113-106 loss to the Nets. ... Toronto is still missing forwards Jonas Valanciunas (fractured finger) and Andrea Bargnani (torn right elbow ligament/strained wrist). Centre Amir Johnson came off the bench for the Raptors, playing through a nagging ankle injury.

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