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Raptors beat Bulls in OT for 4th straight win

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Pascal Siakam recorded a double-double and newly minted all-star Fred VanVleet added 21 as the Toronto Raptors topped the visiting Chicago Bulls 127-120 in overtime on Thursday.

Siakam finished with 25 points and 13 rebounds as the Raptors (27-23) won their fourth game straight and their fifth in six tries.

Chicago’s (32-19) two all-stars, DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine combined for 43 points, with DeRozan dropping 28. Nikola Vucevic led all scorers with 30.

Gary Trent Jr. drill a three-pointer with 16.5 seconds left to play in the extra frame. to put Toronto up 125-120. The Raptors guard poured in 16 points, ending his streak of 30-point-plus games at five straight, a record he shares with DeRozan.

The Raptors were leading 87-81 heading into the fourth quarter, but the Bulls managed to tie the game up, 112-112, on a DeRozan fadeaway from mid-range with 47.8 seconds left.

On the ensuing Toronto possession, VanVleet appeared to dribble the ball off his knee and, after a Chicago challenge, it was ruled he turned the ball over.

VanVleet’s turnover proved costly as Vucevic was able to score as the shot clock expired to put the Bulls up, 114-112. However, thanks to a Scottie Barnes putback on the other end of the floor, the Raptors were able to send the game to overtime.

Raptors centre Khem Birch returned to the lineup after a 10-game absence due to a nose fracture he had suffered during a Jan. 14 game against the Detroit Pistons.

He played less than five minutes in his return.

Chicago was without starting point guard Lonzo Ball and key reserve Alex Caruso, both out with injury.

Next up for the Raptors is an encounter with the Atlanta Hawks Friday at home.

VanVleet named an all-star

It was an emotional night for VanVleet after he was named as an all-star before the game.

Upon hearing the news, his Toronto Raptors teammates swarmed him pre-game in a mob of unbridled joy.

His former teammate and mentor, DeRozan, made a point to find him during warmups to offer his own congratulations.

And even superstar rapper Drake, and his son Adonis, took the time to wish him well.

VanVleet was named a reserve to the 2022 NBA All-Star Game, becoming the eighth different player in Raptors franchise history to be selected to the mid-season showcase, and just the fourth undrafted player in the modern NBA era to be named an all-star.

JN/MS

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