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NBA - US Sports: Bulls claim key win over rival Raptors

Chicago Bulls claimed a crucial 113-99 win over Toronto Raptors on Monday to boost their chances of claiming one of the top six seeds and an automatic play-off place in the Eastern Conference.

Chicago are back in action on Tuesday as they travel to defending champions Milwaukee Bucks.

The Bulls can be backed at 21/10 in the Money Line and Milwaukee are 20/21 with a -6.5 handicap in the Point Spread.

Bulls deliver at the right time

The Bulls have been battling it out at the top of the East for much of the season, but a dip in form had left them vulnerable.

The Raptors could have drawn level with Cleveland Cavaliers in sixth and moved to within half-a-game of the Bulls if they had won on Monday, but Chicago produced an impressive display and dominated the second half to see out the game.

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Bulls guard Zach LaVine, who is managing a knee issue, starred with 26 points, six rebounds and six assists and he feels Chicago are rediscovering their identity at the right time with just 11 regular season games remaining.

"We just need to get that confidence and that swagger back," said LaVine after the game, via the Chicago Tribune.

Williams return a welcome boost

The Bulls welcomed back Patrick Williams for the first time since October after a long injury lay-off and the second-year forward managed 19 minutes, but Lonzo Ball remains absent.

Ball has a knee injury and will pause his rehab for 10 days, meaning he almost certainly won't return in the regular season and could well be a doubt for the play-offs.

The Bulls now have a healthy four-and-a-half game lead over Toronto outside the automatic play-off places in seventh, but still have work to do to claim a top six seed as they bid to avoid the play-in tournament.

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