Chicago Bulls lose to Toronto Raptors

Video AP Salah

Video AP Salah

The less said about the last game of 2018 for the Raptors the better.

They will find out Sunday when they host the Chicago Bulls, who won Friday night and hope it was another step in learning how to win.

The Raptors were missing Lowry (sore lower back) for the seventh time in eight games, although Nurse said before the game he believed Lowry was "coming to the end" of his back troubles.

The Raptors (26-11) are 7-7 in December.

"Still polishing up that zone that's been awfully good to us, we started double-teaming a little bit more in Orlando in the low post". "Their investment into this organization has been the greatest and we miss a little bit of that". "It seems like we've been going through the gamut of big strong centres right at the time".

"I think most nights, yes", Nurse had responded. "There's one ball out there". You're going to have to sacrifice things here and there. "But we're learning how to win".

"They definitely mucked up the game and made it ugly and dirty and slow, and give them credit for that", Raptors guard Fred VanVleet said of the Bulls' effort. Serge Ibaka missed all five of his shots, and the Raptors shot just 33.3 per cent in the quarter. "We'd like to explore the inside a little bit before we get to that point", he said. It's basketball. You have to recognize the hot man and keep riding it. Boucher's three with 3:45 to play in the half gave the Raptors a four-point lead, and they went into the halftime break up 40-39.

Otherwise, Lowry - who is averaging 14.4 points and a career-high 9.8 assists per game - has been sidelined first with a quad issue and then for the past three games with a back problem.

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Kawhi Leonard had his moments too, but a 8-for-22 shooting night with a handful of missed bunnies at the rim wasn't exactly typical Leonard.

Like Toronto, Chicago has been hit with all kinds of injuries this season.

The Raptors were coming off a frightful shooting performance in a 116-87 loss in Orlando, and it was more of the same Sunday: 37 per cent shooting from the field, and just 27.3 from three-point range. Toronto shot.295 from the field in Friday's loss at Orlando. Their 26.2 percent shooting on two-point attempts was the worst in franchise history. They were 12-for-34 from 3-point range.

"It's a odd one", Raptors coach Nick Nurse said.

"I think things are progressing really well".

"There's the odd night or two where we're not moving it as well, or we're trying to create something too quickly".

As a result, VanVleet and Delon Wright have been given more playing time.

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