The Chicago Bulls are once again back at the top of the Eastern Conference after securing a 100-93 win over the Toronto Raptors. Once again, it was Spaniard Pau Gasol who proved to be the most notable acquisition of the Bulls after he dominated the game with 27 points and 11 rebounds, together with a steal and three blocks to operate on both ends of the floor.
During the off-season, the Bulls’ move to get Gasol from free agency has been highly praised by the media as well as fans all over Windy City. With a solid center in Joakim Noah who grabs boards, dishes and blocks shots already in the starting lineup, the addition of Gasol would immediately boost Chicago from a playoffs contender, into a championship favorite. During the Bulls’ first 9 games of the season, Gasol has been short of phenomenal, averaging 18.4 points and 11.1 rebounds.
While his assists numbers have decreased from his stint with the Lakers, he improved on another aspect of his game, defense – one that is very valuable in this Chicago squad. In the first 9 games of the season, the 34-year-old Gasol has averaged 2.4 blocks, good for 3rd place in the NBA. In this game against the Raptors, Gasol was simply unstoppable, as Toronto’s backcourt duo of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan were not enough against the consistent scorers for Chicago. Aside from Gasol, Derrick Rose also played well, scoring 20 points but only made 5 out of 14 field goal attempts.
In the dying minutes of the game, the floor general also hurt his hamstring. Other heroes for the game include Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson, who continue their consistent play and support for the starting lineup.
The two players combined for 31 points, 16 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 steal and 3 blocks.
Chicago will next face Indiana while the Raptors will go up against Utah, both on Saturday.