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Depth-charged win for Bulls
Most teams' 12th men have about as much chance of seeing game action as the beer vendor.
Not this Bulls team.
On a night when Kirk Hinrich sat with a sore hamstring, the Bulls replaced their heart and soul with a collective effort of help and hustle.
From guarding the three-point line to sprinting back to block breakaway layups, the Bulls were everywhere Wednesday night at Air Canada Centre, polishing off Toronto for the eighth straight time in a 94-85 victory that wasn't as close as the score might indicate.
Fourth-quarter sloppiness slightly blemished an otherwise sterling effort in which the Bulls led by as many as 21 and smothered Toronto into 31.8 percent shooting.
All 10 Bulls who played scored and helped hold the Raptorsso deadly on three-pointersto 7 of 27 from beyond the arc. Donyell Marshall managed just three points before leaving with a sore back.
Eddy Curry's 16 points led five Bulls in double figures as the reserves matched the starters point for point, both groups scoring 47.
"This is what has happened to us all year," coach Scott Skiles said.
"We've been able to go down the bench. People have come in and played very well for us. Our bench turned it around for us."
Hinrich's injury forced Chris Duhon to play the entire game and Skiles to use his 10th different starting lineup, which featured Eric Piatkowski starting and hitting a three-pointer for the Bulls' first points.
Toronto missed its first nine shots and 18 of its first 20, shot 20.8 percent in the first quarter yet still led 21-20 because the Bulls committed seven turnovers.
Then came the second quarter. The Bulls opened with a 19-0 run as Toronto missed its first five shots and committed six turnovers, failing to score for the first 5 minutes 4 seconds.
Othella Harrington scored seven of his 11 points and Jannero Pargo added six in the run.
"It's unique because Scott gives everyone a chance to play," Pargo said.
"He does a great job of letting you know when he might need you. Knowing Scott's style, if things aren't going right, he'll put another guy in to try to make something happen right away."
The Bulls hit 13 of their first 14 second-quarter shots and flirted with the franchise record of 89.5 for highest field-goal percentage in a quarter, set Nov. 26, 1991, against the Clippers. They settled for making 15 of 18 for 83.3 percent and a season-high 40-point quarter.
Everyone contributed, except Adrian Griffin, who typically plays ahead of Pargo.
Antonio Davis had a huge three-point play after Toronto opened the fourth quarter with an 18-6 run to awaken the crowd of 16,794.
After a brutal turnover, Luol Deng sprinted back to block a Rafer Alston breakaway. Duhon, who had eight assists, converted the block into an alley-oop dunk for Tyson Chandler at the other end.
"What Kirk brings is passion and energy and toughness," Skiles said.
"The thing that's different this year is we have a lot of guys who bring that."
Indeed, the Bulls' hustle became evident to all.
"You have to give their team credit," said Toronto's Jalen Rose, who scored a game-high 30 points.
"They wanted the game more than we did."