for this game

Raptors extend Bulls' struggles

Nov 25, 2007 - 9:25 PM TORONTO (Ticker) -- Jose Calderon made it another long afternoon for the Chicago Bulls.

Calderon collected 19 points and 14 assists as the Toronto Raptors pulled away for a 93-78 victory over the sputtering Bulls on Sunday.

On the road for the last 10 days due to the circus taking place at the United Center, the Bulls have to be glad to be heading home after completing a 1-5 trip.

Calderon sent the cold-shooting Bulls to their fourth straight loss as he played a solid-all around game. He made 8-of-15 shots and committed just one turnover in 40 minutes.

The increased minutes for Calderon came with T.J. Ford missing his second straight game with a stinger in his arm.

"I enjoy the chance to play heavy minutes but at the same time, I'm excited for T.J. to come back," Calderon said. "I know my role and I am only thinking about the Raptors winning. I don't think about minutes or points, I just look forward to the next game."

Calderon received praise from coach Sam Mitchell.

"Jose understands who and what he is," Mitchell said. "It's a key in sports. Understanding who you are, your strengths and weaknesses and playing that way. And we try and not put him in tough situations. We don't ask him to try and do things that he will struggle with. We try and put him in situations where he'll be comfortable and will have success."

Chris Bosh contributed 16 points and 13 rebounds, Jamario Moon added 15 points and Carlos Delfino 13 points for the Raptors, who took control with a 12-2 run to open the fourth quarter.

Jason Kapono's 3-pointer capped the surge, giving Toronto an 82-70 cushion. Toronto, which improved to just 3-4 at home, shot 43 percent (37-of-86) and held a 45-44 rebounding advantage.

Luol Deng scored 21 points, Ben Gordon 17 and Kirk Hinrich 15 for the Bulls, whose offensive struggles continued.

"We need to continue to play hard," Gordon said. "The worst thing we can do right now is start to give up mentally. We need to be as resilient as possible. This is a team who has been through these types of things before and we need to have the confidence that we are going to be able to make it out of this. It's pretty simple, just continue to play hard and stay positive."

After shooting nearly 60 percent to take a 33-26 lead after one quarter, the Bulls went cold. They made just 3-of-19 shots and managed just 11 points in the second quarter, leading to a 50-44 halftime deficit.

Chicago shot 38 percent (30-of-79) overall.

It marked the third time in four games and fourth time overall this season the Bulls (2-10), who have the Eastern Conference's worst record, were held under 80 points.

"Even if you're winning you're worried about something," Bulls coach Scott Skiles said. "As a coach you're always concerned. Talking to the team and individuals we don't think it's a lack of confidence but mentality during those key moments we struggle a lot."

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