Bulls

The comeback, the comeback that came up short, and the disappearance

The comeback: Well, Bobby Portis made his season debut and he wasn’t meek about it, spurring the Bulls with team-highs 21 points and 13 rebounds. He added four assists and did all of it in 24 minutes. After an eight game suspension, he had more than enough energy—controlled energy, it should be noted—to help the Bulls crawl back from a 20-point deficit in the fourth quarter.

He seemed comfortable not only on the floor but also floating around the perimeter, going three for five from 3-point range. Being able to practice through the suspension after punching Nikola Mirotic a few days before the season began clearly helped him, as he seemed in a rhythm from the start.

As for his relationship with Mirotic, he said the two haven’t spoken since the incident and that he hasn’t reached out after the initial call and text.

He spoke to reporters before the game and didn’t have much to say about Mirotic’s “either he goes or I go” request, as Mirotic doesn’t want to share the floor with his teammate again.

"I just let bygones be bygones with that," Portis said before the game. "I can't control that. Only thing I can control is myself at this point. I'm not worried about who goes, who stays. Only thing I'm worried about is coming in trying to play at the highest level possible. I'm living my dream right now. This is my dream. I've always wanted to play in the NBA. I'm here, and that's all I want to do at this point."

The comeback, part 2: The Bulls looked lifeless in the second quarter and trailed by 23 points in the second half. The Raptors were up 76-53 four minutes into the third quarter and held a steady lead early in the fourth before the Bulls stormed back and made a game of it. Portis hit two triples and Kris Dunn played the entire quarter, helping out with eight points and four steals.

The Raptors were reeling before DeMar DeRozan got to his sweet spot against Dunn, rose up and hit a midrange jumper to give the Raptors critical breathing room in the final minute.

Similar to the game against the Pelicans at the United Center, it was a case of the other team having an All-Star making a money play and the Bulls being unable to stop it.

DeRozan is the king of the midrange, leading the Raptors with 24, but he hit two triples, a rarity for him. It signaled an all-out barrage from the Raptors as they hit 13 of 25, buoying them to a huge lead before the offense stalled late.

Kyle Lowry had 17 points, six rebounds and six assists, being held to one of five shooting in the fourth quarter. But his one make was a layup with 2:50 remaining when the Bulls’ run looked more than academic.

Disappearing act: Bulls rookie Lauri Markkanen is usually a focal point of the Bulls offense but he was on a milk carton for the most part, getting up six shots in 29 minutes.

He scored 12 points and grabbed two rebounds in a quiet performance, as the Raptors preferred to let Jonas Valanciunas have one-on-one coverage against Robin Lopez. Lopez delivered to hit 10 of 11 shots from the field to score 20.

At times, the Bulls missed Markkanen but considering they were scoring so well, shooting 50 for the night and 38 percent from 3-point range, it wasn’t that much to complain about.

It’s when the Bulls are ignoring Markkanen and then struggling offensively that it looks bad. Sometimes, Markkanen will be a decoy and his teammates will have to deliver.

They did offensively, just not enough to score the upset.