The Associated Press
CHICAGO–The Raptors held off the Chicago Bulls and then turned their attention toward the superstar who led them to their first championship in his lone season with Toronto.
It figures to be quite a night tomorrow when Kawhi Leonard visits Toronto for the first time since signing with the Los Angeles Clippers. The NBA Finals MVP will pick up his ring and probably get a warm welcome.
“I think it’s going to be a good moment for him and I think he’s going to be really, really happy to get his ring,” Kyle Lowry said.
The Raptors were happy to leave Chicago with a victory last night.
Pascal Siakam scored 22 points, and Toronto held on to beat the Bulls 93-92 when Zach LaVine missed a runner in the closing seconds.
Norman Powell added 17 points, including six in the fourth quarter, and the defending NBA champions ended their first three-game skid since last November. After beating Chicago for the 11th straight time, their focus shifted toward Leonard and the Clippers.
“I would imagine that our fans are going to give him an amazing ovation,” coach Nick Nurse said.
“If they give him one-fifteenth of what they gave us on opening night, it’s still going to be something. It was really amazing the night we got ours.”
LaVine scored 20 for Chicago–all in the first half. Wendell Carter Jr. and Daniel Gafford each had 14 points for the Bulls, who made just 12 of 46 3-pointers on the way to their sixth loss in eight games.
Lowry scored 11 points in his third game after missing 11 in a row with a broken left thumb. The five-time All-Star made 1 of 8 3-pointers, and the Raptors hit 7 of 29 from beyond the arc.
Denzel Valentine led the way as Chicago opened the fourth quarter with a 14-6 run that turned a 71-all tie into an 85-77 lead. He nailed a jumper, buried two 3-pointers and fed Gafford for two alley-oop dunks.
But the Raptors responded by scoring nine straight, going ahead on Lowry’s two free throws with 3:52 remaining.
The Bulls had a chance to win in the closing seconds after an out-of-bounds call got overturned by replay review.
Tomas Satoransky inbounded to LaVine, who missed a runner in traffic along the left side. Gafford was unable to control the rebound, and the ball bounced around as time expired.
In other NBA action last night, the L.A. Clippers dumped Indiana 110-99; Boston routed Cleveland 110-88; Detroit topped New Orleans 105-103; Sacramento shaded Houston 119-118; Milwaukee downed Orlando 110-101; Phoenix scorched Minnesota 125-109; Oklahoma City dispatched Utah 104-90; and Memphis beat Golden State 110-102.