Jimmy Butler scored all but two of his 42 points in the second half Sunday to lift the Chicago Bulls over the Toronto Raptors 115-113.
DeMar DeRozan had 24 points for the Raptors (21-14), while Kyle Lowry added 22 points and 10 assists. Luis Scola had 22 points, Cory Joseph finished with 13 and DeMarre Carroll added 10.
Pau Gasol added 19 points for a Bulls team (20-12) missing star point guard Derrick Rose (hamstring injury).
The Raptors were looking for payback, winless in their previous six games against the Bulls, including a 104-97 defeat just six nights earlier in Chicago.
Toronto led for virtually all but the first quarter in a thrilling Eastern Conference matchup Sunday, taking an 87-81 advantage into the fourth quarter in front of a capacity crowd of 19,800 fans at the Air Canada Centre.
But Butler was unstoppable down the stretch, and when he drilled a three in DeRozan’s face 2 1/2 minutes to play, it pulled the Bulls to within two points. E’Twaun Moore’s basket with 58 seconds would tie the game, and then Butler launched a three over Carroll with 31 seconds to play to put the Bulls up by a point.
A Jonas Valanciunas dunk with five seconds left had the Raptors — who are two spots ahead of Chicago in second in the East — within two points, but DeRozan’s three-point attempt clanged around the hoop and then out, eliciting a collective groan from the fans.
The loss capped a three-game homestand for the Raptors where they went 2-1. They were set to depart later Sunday for Cleveland, where they open five-game road trip that culminates Jan. 14 in London’s O2 Arena against the Orlando Magic.