Carlos Boozer's huge game helps Bulls top Raptors for seventh straight win

TORONTO -- The Chicago Bulls' latest win came with some bad news.

Carlos Boozer had a season-high 34 points and 12 rebounds, and Chicago won its seventh straight game by beating the Toronto Raptors 110-93 on Wednesday night. But the Bulls announced afterward that center Joakim Noah will miss eight to 10 weeks following surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb.

"It's frustrating because I feel like we have a chance to be really, really good and I've never been in a situation where we're winning like this," said Noah, who will undergo surgery Thursday. "I know that, in the long run, this is what needs to be done."

Noah, who had 11 points and 11 rebounds against the Raptors, was injured Nov. 27 at Sacramento but has been able to play through pain for the past nine games. He also has sprained ligaments in his right index finger and middle finger. Those injuries will not require surgery.

"It's tough not playing at a high level," Noah said. "It's hurting and I've got to take anti-inflammatories every time I play. I can't practice. I have to get right and get back to this team."

Boozer, who returned Dec. 1 after missing the first month with a broken hand, praised Noah for battling through the injury as long as he did.

"He's a warrior for playing through it for two weeks," Boozer said. "You've got to take your hat off to him for giving up his hand for us as long as he has."

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said he's undecided on how he will handle the starting lineup in Noah's absence, but indicated he would prefer to use the same five starters each game.

"It's disappointing for Joe but we're confident in the abilities of the guys that we have," Thibodeau said. "We've got more than enough to win with. Taj [Gibson] has played extremely well, Kurt Thomas has played well for us, Luol [Deng] has played well for us, so we have a number of players who can step up."

Deng added 19 points and Derrick Rose dished out 11 assists for the Bulls, who never trailed and led by as many as 29.

Rose started for the Bulls despite a sprained right wrist and bruised right elbow, sustained when he fell hard in the fourth quarter of Monday's victory over Indiana.

"Before the game I told [Boozer] to get 40," Rose said. "I knew it was one of those nights where my arm wasn't right. I knew my passing was going to have to win the game. They have some small bigs and he's big. He's a bully out there. That's what he did tonight."

Kyle Korver scored 13 points and Ronnie Brewer had 10 as Chicago matched its longest winning streak since a seven-game run from Nov. 25 to Dec. 8, 2006.

Leandro Barbosa scored 21 points for Toronto, which lost for the sixth time in seven games. Jerryd Bayless had 20 and DeMar DeRozan and Joey Dorsey each scored 12.

Bayless agreed with Rose that Chicago had "bullied" the Raptors.

"It's embarrassing and I don't like it," Bayless said. "I'm not used to it and I'm not going to stand for it. We've got to get better."

Making his first career start in place of Andrea Bargnani, who missed his first game of the season with a sore left knee, Ed Davis had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Raptors.

Trailing 91-64 to begin the fourth, Toronto closed the gap with a 12-2 run, cutting it to 93-76 on a layup by Barbosa with 7:21 remaining.

Gibson ended the spurt with a dunk and the Raptors were unable to get any closer, allowing Chicago to close out a comfortable win.

Up 23-18 after one quarter, the Bulls got 12 points from Boozer and 10 from Korver in the second, building a 63-44 lead at halftime.

Boozer scored 14 points in the third as Chicago took a 91-64 lead into the final quarter.

"Carlos is terrific," Thibodeau said. "He can score so many different ways. He does it in transition, he does it in the post, he does it off pick-and-roll, he does it off catch-and-shoot. He's a tough matchup."

Chicago outrebounded Toronto 47-37.

Game notes
Jose Calderon (left foot) missed his fourth straight game for Toronto while Peja Stojakovic (left knee) sat out for the 10th game in a row. ... Boozer's previous best this season was 29 points, set Dec. 6 against Oklahoma City. ... DeRozan is the only Raptors player to start all 26 games this season. ... Toronto's starting lineup of Bayless, Davis, DeRozan, Amir Johnson and Sonny Weems is the youngest in franchise history, with an average age of 22 years, 239 days.