Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Luol Deng barely got the ball out of his hands before the final buzzer, but was able to score off Earl Watson's deflected shot, giving the Bulls a 102-101 overtime win over the Toronto Raptors.
James Johnson, who had 20 points and eight rebounds for the Raptors, made 1-of-2 free throws with 15.2 seconds left, this after a call was changed. Johnson drove into the lane and was tied up by Carlos Boozer, but after the call change, the Raptors took a one-point lead.
Johnson then blocked a layup try from Deng, but the door was left ajar for Chicago when Gary Forbes missed a pair from the charity stripe with 6.4 seconds left.
Following a timeout, the Bulls got the ball to Watson, who drove into the lane, but his fallaway shot was met by Johnson's fourth block of the night. Deng was under the bucket and the ball was inches off his fingertips and on its way to the basket when the red light illuminated.
Video replay confirmed the call, which meant a fourth straight victory for the Eastern Conference leaders. Boozer had 24 points and Deng had 23 with each grabbing 10 boards in Chicago's 40th win of the season. Watson also scored 23 for the Bulls, who played without reigning MVP Derrick Rose due to a groin injury.
"I saw the light after it left my hand, but you really never know," Deng said.
The Bulls became the first team in the NBA to clinch a playoff spot.
Jose Calderon scored 20 and had 10 assists for the Raptors, who also received 12 points and 13 rebounds from Forbes. Andrea Bargnani scored 17, but his three-point try at the regulation buzzer was off the mark, sending the contest into OT tied at 94.
"Three out of four free throws (misses) is just too much to overcome with a great team like Chicago," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. "They're the best team in the league."
Toronto shot 63 percent in the opening quarter, on the way to a 30-20 lead after 12 minutes.
Chicago opened the second on a 17-4 burst, capped by a pair of Omer Asik free throws, but Toronto came back to gain a 55-50 lead at the half. The Raptors were clinging to a 73-71 lead going into the fourth.
Toronto led by as many as seven in the fourth quarter, but Watson's three-ball tied it at 86 with 3:26 left. His 1-of-2 effort from the foul line evened the game at 94, leading to a wild sequence in the closing seconds.
Johnson missed a layup, but got his own rebound and got the ball to Bargnani, who missed a jumper. Forbes then missed a tip try, and the ball went off Taj Gibson's knee and out a bounds. Toronto retained possession with 3.6 seconds, but Bargnani rimmed a three from the right wing.
Neither team led by more than two in overtime.
Asik had 10 points and seven rebounds...The Bulls went 3-of-23 from beyond the arc...Richard Hamilton (right shoulder) also sat out for Chicago...Toronto committed 20 turnovers, leading to 19 Chicago points...Chicago has won four straight and seven of the last eight meetings between the teams.
03/25 01:29:28 ET