It wasn't pretty, but a win is a win.
The Toronto Raptors came away with a 95-89 win over the Chicago Bulls on Sunday in their final game of 2018.
Here are your takeaways from tonight's victory...
Defence, Defence, Defence
The Raptors held the Bulls to 89 points in the win, the second-least amount of points they've allowed this season.
The Bulls actually shot better percentages from both the field (41.3 percent) and three (35.0 percent) but the Raptors were still able to get the job done. Toronto is 12-1 in games where they hold their opponents under 42.0 percent shooting from the field and tonight proved that no matter how poorly they're shooting, they can find a way to win if the defence is clicking the way it was.
They forced the Bulls to turn the ball over 18 times and held every player on Chicago under the 20-point mark. They were all over the Bulls' leading scorer Zach LaVine, forcing him to take bad shots all night on his way to a 3-for-17 shooting performance from the field, his worst all season.
They shot what percentage and still won?
The Raptors shot 37.0 percent from the field and still came away with the win. That's the lowest shooting percentage in a Raptors' win all season, topping the game against the Pacers a few weeks back where they shot 40.9 percent and won. Pascal Siakam, Danny Green and Chris Boucher were the only Raptors' players to shoot at or above 50.0 percent for the game with the eight other players under that mark.
Kawhi Leonard may have finished with a game-high 27 points, but he was 1-for-6 from 3-point range. Fred VanVleet had a solid seven-assist game but was 3-for-12 from the field and 2-for-7 from three. I guess it just goes to show that there are other ways to make a contribution than shooting effeciently from the field, because the Raptors made it work tonight. And one of the main reasons it worked out was...
Crashing the glass
The Bulls may have had higher percentages than the Raptors, but they didn't have the opportunities Toronto did.
The Raptors tied a season-high for offensive rebounds in a game with 17. Siakam led the way with six offensive boards (a career-high) while Serge Ibaka, OG Anunoby and Greg Monroe all grabbed two or more. They outscored the Bulls 24-10 on second chance points and out-rebounded the Bulls 52-44.
Toronto is 14-2 in games that they out-rebound their opponent and it was nice to see them crashing the glass to make the most out of all the missed shots.
What a 2018!
This was the final game Raptors' game of 2018, and what a special year it was.
Toronto won 64 regular season games in the calendar year of 2018, the most in the NBA. Their 64-24 regular season record throughout the 2018 calendar year is the second-best in the NBA, trailing only the Houston Rockets. The catch - if the Rockets were to lose to the Memphis Grizzlies on the final day of the year, the Raptors would have the best record of any NBA team in the calendar year!
While last season did not end the way fans would have hoped and the team is fighting through some injuries at this point in the season, 2018 was a great year to be Raptors fan and Kawhi Leonard and co. have a promising 2019 ahead of them.