Bulls fall up North, and point guard Patrick Beverley asks for more

Beverley did what he needed to do in the loss to the Raptors, especially holding Fred VanVleet 17 points under his average. What the veteran wants to see is his fellow starters continue stepping up so they can be a tough out in the playoffs.

SHARE Bulls fall up North, and point guard Patrick Beverley asks for more
Patrick Beverley

Patrick Beverley wanted to see what his new locker room looked like after a loss, and he found out on Tuesday, as the Bulls watched the two-game winning streak end in Toronto.

Frank Gunn/AP

TORONTO — Point guard Patrick Beverley did his job.

Never one to pull punches, Beverley wanted to make sure his fellow starters understood what their job was.

“Be pros,’’ Beverley was chirping at teammates when the locker room opened to the media after the Bulls’ 104-98 loss to the Raptors. “Fifteen turnovers from the starters . . . be pros.’’

There was a method to his madness.

“I told the guys after the game that I feel like DeMar [DeRozan] and Zach [LaVine] need to shoot the ball a little more for us to beat a team we need to beat, especially in the playoffs,’’ Beverley said. “The goal is not to get to the playoffs. The goal is to get to the playoffs and compete. Not just to go there and be a wash rag for another team.

“Not only that, but we had those 15 turnovers with the first unit. I think I was the leading rebounder in the first unit. That’s unacceptable. The first unit has to be better, and we will. It was a good test for us.’’

But the Bulls (28-34) failed it, ending a two-game winning streak and again falling 1½ games behind the Wizards for the final play-in spot.

So where to point the finger?

Not at Beverley, who had eight points, seven rebounds and four assists and, more important, held Fred VanVleet to three points — almost 17 points below his average.

The Bulls should be upset about 20 turnovers and being outrebounded 47-35 as well as giving up 19 offensive rebounds.

“What hurt us was our turnovers and getting outrebounded on the glass,’’ center Nikola Vucevic said. “We didn’t do a good enough job of boxing them out. We talked about it before the game and just didn’t execute it.’’

Vucevic led the Bulls with 23 points and went 4-for-6 from three-point range.

Coach Billy Donovan was able to get away with marching out a smaller starting lineup the first two games with Beverley in the mix against the Nets and Wizards but not against the Raptors.

Jakob Poeltl goes 7-1, Pascal Siakam and Scottie Barnes are 6-8 and O.G. Anunoby is 6-7. That length was a concern entering the game, and it was obvious why as the Raptors jumped out to a seven-point lead.

To the Bulls’ credit, they stayed true to their recent blueprint: digging their heels in the dirt and muddying up the game on the defensive end.

The blueprint worked as Toronto (31-32) led by just one after the first quarter.

The real head-scratcher was how the Bulls took a two-point lead into the locker room at the half despite 10 turnovers and being outrebounded 23-16.

Pat the defense on the back for forcing Toronto into less efficient shots. In the first half, the Raptors went only 17-for-48 (35.4%) from the field and 5-for-21 (23.8%) from three-point range.

But things slipped away in the fourth quarter. Toronto grabbed six offensive rebounds, shot 5-for-10 from three-point range and outscored the Bulls 34-26.

“Hold the ball a little bit, get some more shots up, box out, get three more rebounds, and we win this game by eight points,’’ Beverley said. “We play hard as hell. You play Toronto, everybody is saying the same thing. Offensive rebounding, that’s what [the Raptors] do.

“I’m not worried; I’m excited. I was very anxious to see the locker room after a loss, see what I’m dealing with.’’

Now he knows.

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