Bulls extend winning streak over Raptors to 11

CHICAGO (AP) -- Kirk Hinrich and Ben Gordon are starting to
complement each other.

Hinrich scored 25 points and had 11 assists, Gordon added 19
points, and the Chicago Bulls beat the Toronto Raptors 113-104
Monday night.

Luol Deng had 21 points for the Bulls, who have won three
straight after dropping a season-high eight in a row and have
beaten the Raptors 11 consecutive times. The Bulls have not lost to
the Raptors since Dec. 6, 2002.

The key to Chicago's winning streak has been the play of Hinrich
and Gordon, two of the most important players from last season's
playoff team.

"I think that's when we play our best, when we both are flowing
and playing off of each other. When we play that way I think the
team is pretty good," Gordon said.

"We know that if somebody goes into the lane what spot we have
to move to just in case he's in trouble, so right now we are
playing with good chemistry and hopefully we can get better as the
[season] goes on."

Gordon, battling an upset stomach, had to sit out the entire
third quarter, but came back and scored 12 points in the fourth. It
was the first time this season he reached double figures in scoring
in the fourth quarter. Last season he had 21 double-digit fourth
quarters, second to LeBron James.

Hinrich added seven points in the final quarter.

"I thought Kirk played really well. He got tired, we gave him a
blow, and he came back strong," Bulls coach Scott Skiles said.
"In the second quarter when we were pulling away, he had some
really great plays on both ends."

Chris Bosh scored 26 points and reserve Jalen Rose had 24 for
Toronto, which cut a 23-point deficit to two in the fourth quarter.

Chicago pulled away early in the second quarter, running off 14
straight points in a 3-minute span. Deng and Gordon hit
back-to-back 3s to give Chicago a 49-41 lead.

Rose and Matt Bonner capped Toronto's 10-0 run with back-to-back
3s, making it 89-87 with 7:47 left, but Chicago responded with a
11-2 run. Deng hit a 3 and Gordon made a runner to increase the
Bulls' lead to 100-89.

"I just think our guys ran out of gas. Then, every time they
needed to make a shot, every time we made a push, Ben Gordon or
Kirk Hinrich made big shots for them," Raptors coach Sam Mitchell

The Bulls hit 11 of their 18 3-point attempts.

Chicago closed the half by outscoring the Raptors 14-4 to take a
63-47 lead. Andres Nocioni sparked the Bulls with nine points in
the span. He scored 11 points in the quarter and finished with 18.

"When he plays with energy like that, it's just a huge lift for
this team," Hinrich said.

Michael Sweetney gave the Bulls their largest lead of the game
on a three-point play with 9:04 left in the third quarter, making
it 74-51.

The Raptors cut the lead to 76-67 midway through the period by
scoring 13 straight points. The Bulls responded with two straight
3s from Nocioni and Hinrich.

Toronto shot 61 percent in the first quarter and led 37-33. Rose
scored 11 points off the bench on 3-of-3 shooting and Morris
Peterson scored 10 points in the quarter.

"We did a good job of fighting back, but we have to look at
what happened at the beginning when we moved the ball and played
unselfish basketball," Bosh said. "If you look at the score, most
likely we win the game if we keep sharing the ball."

Hinrich hit all four of his shots in the first quarter and
scored 12 points.

Peterson finished with 22 points for Toronto, which has lost two
straight after a season-high five-game winning streak.

Game notes
Peterson says he won't face any fines for slapping former
teammate Vince Carter in the face during Sunday's game against the
New Jersey Nets. Peterson spoke with Stu Jackson, the NBA's senior
vice president of basketball operations, before the game. ... The
Bulls outscored the Raptors 30-10 in the second quarter. ...
Chicago C Tyson Chandler played after missing three games with a
right ankle sprain. He was scoreless in 14 minutes. ... Sweetney
had 14 points and nine rebounds for Chicago. Mike James scored 14
points with 13 assists for the Raptors.