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Valanciunas leads Raptors over Bulls

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT
Caption
(Charles Rex Arbogast)
Chicago Bulls forward Carlos Boozer (5) shoots past Toronto Raptors forward Amir Johnson (15) and Jonas Valanciunas (17) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

CHICAGO – Jonas Valanciunas scored 15 points and the Toronto Raptors mounted a fourth-quarter comeback to beat the  Bulls, 85-79, on Tuesday night.

He made two big free throws to seal the game in the final minute after Toronto had missed three of four from the line down the stretch.

Greivis Vasquez hit a 3-pointer two minutes into the fourth to give Toronto (14-15) its first lead of the second half, and the Raptors didn't look back. Vasquez scored seven of his nine points in the fourth quarter, and also had two assists and a blocked shot in the final quarter as Toronto overcame the tenacious Bulls defense.

Luol Deng led Chicago (12-18) with 16 points in his return to the court after missing five games due to a sore left Achilles tendon.

Toronto shot 37 percent through the first three quarters, but turned it up in the fourth making 10 of its 17 shots. Meanwhile, the Bulls went 4-for-24 from the field in the fourth quarter, falling to 1-6 at the United Center after starting the season 6-1.

Coming off of season-highs with 32 points and 11 assists Saturday against the Knicks, Kyle Lowry had a modest 12 and six against Chicago.

The 27-year-old averaged 22.4 points over his last five games coming in, including 14-for-30 from 3-point range despite dealing with trade rumors. Lowry took an early breather after being whistled for a pair of fouls within the first five minutes. He didn't score until seven minutes into the second quarter when he knocked down a 3-pointer from the wing.

He connected again from deep on the following possession.

Following his season-high 26-point performance Monday at Memphis, Jimmy Butler poured in 15 for Chicago (12-18). He completed a three-point play to pull the Bulls back within five with two minutes left, but they couldn't complete the comeback.

Carlos Boozer missed his first seven shots and didn't find the scoring column until midway through the third quarter.

Boozer, Joakim Noah and Kirk Hinrich combined to go 4-for-27 from the field.

Noah had seven points and 16 rebounds.

Taj Gibson was the only player in double-figures when Chicago took a 42-36 lead into halftime. He finished with 12 points - two in the second half. Mike Dunleavy added 13 for Chicago, which had won three of its last four.

Toronto has won two of the three meetings this season, the road team coming out on top each time.

Notes: Bulls G D.J. Augustin, who was released by the Raptors on December 9, had six points and three assists on 3-of-4 shooting. Augustin shot just 1 for 7 from the floor against his former team on Dec. 14, a 99-77 loss. . Raptors F Amir Johnson was taken out in the second quarter due to a right knee injury, but returned minutes later after going to the locker room for treatment. He finished with nine points and six rebounds.

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