Rather than change the lineup, as he threatened to do all week, Bulls coach Scott Skiles merely put Eddy Curry and Jamal Crawford on warning Friday night.
"I'd prefer to see if we get any kind of response where guys want to keep their spot by playing harder or go the opposite way," Skiles said.
And for once, the Bulls played harder, snapping a seven-game losing streak overall and nine-game skid at Air Canada Centre with a pulsating 96-91 victory over the Toronto Raptors.
Curry responded with 28 points, a career-high five assists and four blocks.
"Scott put a little pep in my step," Curry said.
Curry's turnaround hook with 2 minutes 2 seconds left proved huge, pushing a dwindling lead back to five.
Kirk Hinrich followed with a layup, one of his many momentum-stopping plays that included a steal and breakaway dunk. Hinrich finished with 21 points and 13 assists, his 12th double-double to lead all rookies.
Vince Carter led all scorers with 30 points, but Kendall Gill's physical defense helped limit him to nine in the second half. Jalen Rose added 24, but committed seven turnovers.
Antonio Davis, booed loudly every time he touched the ball, added 18 points and 14 rebounds as the Bulls beat Toronto for the third straight time in beginning a four-games-in-five-nights stretch.
"I gave Toronto everything I had," Davis said. "When you don't feel people appreciate that, it hurts. But I'm a grown man. I walk away with a win and walk away smiling."
Bits: Linton Johnson signed for the remainder of the season and then got yanked 30 seconds after tipoff for blowing a defensive assignment. He rallied to contribute seven rebounds. Crawford turns 24 Saturday. General manager John Paxson acted unconcerned in discussing Scottie Pippen's latest plan to play next season. "We don't have a lot of financial options either way," Paxson said.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times