Balanced Bulls bounce Raptors


Kukoc returns to Bulls, who lose Rodman until playoffs

Box score | Game recap | Game Flow

TORONTO -- Scottie Pippen and Luc Longley each scored 16 points to lead a balanced attack as the Chicago Bulls cruised to their sixth straight win, 96-83 over the Toronto Raptors.

Chicago was in control throughout, never allowing the Raptors closer than seven points in the second half. Toronto's Marcus Camby hit a jumper with 8:15 to go in the game, cutting the margin to 79-72, but the Bulls responded with an 8-0 run. Steve Kerr's jumper put Chicago ahead, 87-72, at 5:29.

Michael Jordan splits Toronto's Clifford Rozier and Sharone Wright on the drive.

Toni Kukoc returned to the Bulls' lineup and had eight points, six rebounds and six assists in 32 minutes. He missed 13 games with plantar fasciatis of the right foot.

Bulls coach Phil Jackson was happy to see Kukoc back and credited him with playing a big role in the win.

"We were a little slow there in the first qaurter," Jackson said. "Toni Kukoc came off the bench and got us going. They did a good job on Michael (Jordan) and Scottie. We tried to be more aggressive on the defensive end. I just thought we didn't move the ball well tonight. We were a little slow."

Jordan was held to 12 points, but grabbed 10 rebounds. He was held to 13 points in Chicago's last trip to Toronto. His season-low came when he was limited to 10 in a 99-79 win at Atlanta on the March 15th.

This was the third straight game Jordan did not lead the Bulls in scoring.

"He's pretty flawless," Raptors guard Doug Christie said of Jordan. "It has to be a team effort to defend him. I'm just trying to slow him up. As soon as you mess up, you're already burned. You've just got to get a hand in his face."

Christie had a career-high five blocks and matched Jordan's 12 points.

Jason Caffey, starting in place of the injured Dennis Rodman, scored 12 points on 5-for-7 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds. Rodman was placed on the injured list before the game and will be out for the rest of the regular season.

Damon Stoudamire had 18 points, 12 assists and six rebounds for the Raptors, who suffered their fourth straight loss. Sharone Wright added 15 points and Clifford Rozier pulled down 10 rebounds.

Marcus Camby scored only eight points on 4-for-14 shooting. He had been averaging 25 points over the last nine games. Raptors center Oliver Miller left with a sprained left ankle two minutes into the first quarter.

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