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After Monday morning's shootaround, Bill Cartwright skipped the team bus and took a 20-minute walk back to the team hotel, worrying about all the ways his team could underestimate the undermanned Raptors.
What's the walk back to Chicago from Ontario? A week or two?
Cartwright could be excused for contemplating taking it after watching the Bulls suffer a thoroughly deflating 109-105 overtime loss before 17,441 at the Air Canada Centre.
The Bulls, whose fourth-quarter rallythis time from 18 pointsfell short for the second straight game, appeared to have everything in their favor.
Toronto played without Vince Carter and Antonio Davis. Instant replay worked flawlessly to wipe off Mamadou N'diaye's potential game-winning tip-in at the regulation buzzer. A foul by N'diaye on an inbounds pass put Donyell Marshall at the line with 0.4 seconds remaining in overtime.
And the Bulls still lostfor the 15th straight time to Toronto.
Lindsey Hunter's 12-foot jumper over Jay Williams with 1.2 seconds remaining provided the winning points, which held up when Marshall missed his first free-throw attempt.
Marshall, who played through a sore back to post a monster game with 32 points and 17 rebounds, then missed the second on purpose and committed a lane violation in the process. Alvin Williams tacked on two free throws with 0.1 seconds remaining.
"The disappointing thing is that in the fourth quarter, that's how we play," Cartwright said. "We were not the hunter to start the game."
Toronto dressed only nine players, two of whom you don't know unless you live in Ontario or are a relative.
The Raptors, led by Williams' 25 points, ran the Bulls ragged early, fast-breaking to a 55-46 halftime lead.
N'diayeone of those guys you've never heard ofscored six points to spark a 14-0 run late in the third quarter as Toronto's lead grew to 80-62. He finished with 12 points and eight blocks, both career highs.
Cartwright started Corie Blount, Donyell Marshall, Fred Hoiberg, Eddie Robinson and Jamal Crawford in the fourth quarter. Playing a zone and pushing the ball upcourt offensively, the unit responded with a 20-5 run.
Jalen Rose, who had gone 4-of-16, then scored the Bulls' final seven points in regulation, including a finger roll over Jerome Williams with 7.8 seconds left.
"I point right here as far as us not getting it done," Rose said.
Referee Bennett Salvatore used instant replay to correctly wave off N'diaye's late tip-in, which jazzed the Bulls. The overtime featured three ties and six lead changes alone.
The last tie came when Rose, who finished with 24, blew past Morris Peterson to score with 5.8 seconds left. Following a timeout, Hunter scored over Williams, setting up Marshall's misses.
"I always talk about finishing the game," Marshall said. "I played well the whole game. But I didn't finish it."