Zach LaVine scored 39 points, DeMar DeRozan had 23 against his former team and the Chicago Bulls overcame a 19-point deficit to beat the Toronto Raptors 109-105 in a play-in tournament game Wednesday night.
The Bulls will visit the Miami Heat on Friday night for the chance to earn the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference playoff bracket, and a first-round playoff matchup with Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks.
Nikola Vucevic had 14 points and 13 rebounds for the Bulls, who trailed 66-47 in the third quarter but took the lead by making four of seven attempts from 3-point range in the fourth. Chicago shot 3 for 19 from distance through the first three quarters.
Fred VanVleet had 26 points and 12 rebounds and Pascal Siakam scored 32 points, but Toronto’s season ended in disappointment as the Raptors — with DeRozan’s daughter, Diar, screaming when they shot — went a dismal 18 for 36 at the free throw line. Toronto missed six attempts from the line in the fourth quarter.
Scottie Barnes had 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Raptors, and O.G. Anunoby scored 13 points.
Chicago’s Alex Caruso connected from the corner to tie the score at 91-all with 7:08 left in the fourth quarter and Patrick Beverley’s 3 with 5:07 remaining gave the Bulls a 96-93 lead. It was Beverley’s first basket of the game.
VanVleet’s 3 with 3:11 to go knotted it again at 100-all, but LaVine and DeRozan replied with baskets for the Bulls.
Barnes and Siakam each made one of two at the line inside the final two minutes, and VanVleet missed a 3 that would have tied the game.
Siakam’s driving dunk with 19 seconds left cut it to 105-104. After a timeout, LaVine pushed the lead to three with a pair of free throws. Caruso fouled Siakam on a 3 but the Raptors star missed his second and third attempts.
The Raptors led 28-23 after one and VanVleet connected on a halfcourt heave at the halftime buzzer as Toronto extended its lead to 58-47.
VanVleet’s 3 with 9:09 left in the third gave Toronto a 19-point edge, but the Bulls shaved the gap and trailed 81-72 heading to the fourth.
Reporting by The Associated Press.
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