Boozer scores 20 and Bulls beat Raptors 94-92

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TORONTO (AP) - Before his team faced the surging Bulls, Toronto coach Dwane Casey praised Chicago for being “at the head of the class” when it comes to defense.

Later on, with the outcome in the balance, Jimmy Butler showed why he’s one of the Bulls’ top students.

Carlos Boozer scored 20 points, D.J. Augustin had 19 against his former team and the Bulls won their fourth straight game Wednesday night, edging the Raptors 94-92.

Butler blocked DeMar DeRozan’s potential go-ahead jump shot with 2 seconds left in the fourth quarter and the Bulls clinging to a one-point lead.

Jimmy had a great play basically to save the game for us,” Boozer said. “We needed one stop and Jimmy got it for us.”

Kirk Hinrich scored 19 points, Butler had 16 and Taj Gibson fouled out with 10 as the Bulls won for the fifth time in six games and halted Toronto’s winning streak at three. Joakim Noah added eight points and 13 assists for Chicago.

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau called Butler “a big-time player” who’s shown steady improvement in his three NBA seasons.

“Each year, I think, he’s improved significantly to the point where he’s as good as it gets,” Thibodeau said. “There’s constant pressure on you.”

Butler had one thought on his mind as he lined up to defend DeRozan after a Toronto timeout in the dying moments of the fourth.

“Whatever you do, do not let this guy get a basket,” Butler said he told himself.

He didn’t, rising up to block DeRozan’s shot, then swallowing the loose ball before being fouled by Kyle Lowry.

DeRozan led the Raptors with 32 points, while Lowry fouled out with 16. Lowry, who had seven assists, failed to extend his career-best streak of double doubles to four games.

Augustin, who was waived by Toronto in December before signing with the Bulls as a free agent, hit two 3-pointers early in the third as Chicago took a 76-66 lead at 9:34.

“I don’t know what they were looking at but we picked up a gem,” Boozer said of Augustin. “He’s been playing as good as anybody in the league since he came to us, in my opinion.”

Noah also heaped praise on Augustin, who scored 13 in the final quarter.

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