This season has been a struggle for Chicago after a coaching change and injuries left their lineups scrambled. Jimmy Butler has had concerns over his knee in recent weeks, but is playing after Dr. James Andrews gave his opinion; Pau Gasol (knee), Derrick Rose (thigh), and Mike Dunleavy (stomach virus) sat out Monday’s contest against the Raptors due to injury. Doug McDermott saw extended playing time on Monday and proved to be the difference-maker in Chicago’s 109-107 victory.

McDermott got off to a sensational start and had ten points in just under six minutes off the bench. E’Twaun Moore had 11 in the first quarter, and he and McDermott hit 9/9 combined shots. The Bulls led 34-29 after one, and Kyle Lowry led the Raptors with 11.

In the second, Chicago shot just 6/19 (31.6%) from the field; Toronto wasn’t much better at 8/22 (36.4%). McDermott, however, was a perfect 3/3 from the field, 6/7 from the free throw line, and finished the quarter with 14 of Chicago’s 24 points. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan combined for just five points on 2/8 shooting; Toronto scored 23 points in the period.

Chicago entered the third with a 58-52 lead behind McDermott’s 24 points. His aggression subsided in the third and McDermott attempted just two shots, making one. The Bulls, however, did put up 26 points behind a strong effort from their starting five. The Raptors were led by DeRozan and Lowry, who had eight and six, respectively, of Toronto’s 25.

The Raptors are down 84-77 going into the fourth but threatened Chicago’s lead with a 15-point outburst by Kyle Lowry. The final forty seconds were wild and started with a Lowry layup, followed by a steal on the inbounds. DeRozan scored two of his eight in the quarter off a layup with 19.6 seconds left, cutting the lead to 106-105. Nikola Mirotic hits two free throws, and then Kyle Lowry cut the lead again with a layup. The score was 108-107 before Butler hit one of two free throws to seal it.

McDermott finished with 29 points, and Moore and Mirotic both had 17. Kyle Lowry led the Raptors with 33 points and 11 rebounds, and DeRozan had 27.

Chicago travels to face the Wizards on Wednesday while Toronto travels to Milwaukee on Tuesday.

Around The League

Russell Westbrook had another monster triple-double and now has 12 on the year. He finished with 17 points, ten boards, 16 dimes, and zero turnovers in a 128-94 rout of the Trail Blazers.

Golden State won its 60th game of the season against the Pelicans, 125-107, and reached 60 wins faster than any other team in NBA history. Steph Curry led the way 27 points while Anthony Davis had 22p/12r for New Orleans.

The Houston Rockets had nine players score in double-figures as they obliterated the Grizzlies, 130-81. Donatas Motiejunas had a game-high 18, and James Harden had 15 points on 3/8 shooting in just 25 minutes of action.

Scores

DAL 107 – CHA 96

DEN 119 – MIA 124

CHI 109 – TOR 107

DET 81 – WASH 124

MEM 81 – HOU 130

POR 94 – OKC 128

MINN 104 – PHX 107

CLE 85 – UTAH 94

NOLA 107 – GSW 125