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Walter Lemon Jr. leads Bulls past Wizards after tanktastic Cristiano Felicio gaffe

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somebody had to win

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Washington Wizards Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Somebody had to win when the Zombie Bulls and Wizards played Wednesday night in the nation’s capital. While the Wizards are still playing guys like Bradley Beal and the former Bulls (though Jabari Parker got hurt in this game), Scott Brooks chose not to play his main guys in the fourth quarter, effectively creating a high-level G League game down the stretch.

It looked like the Wizards were going to pull the game out when they went up 109-104 with just under three minutes to play, but seven late points for Shaquille Harrison and Walter Lemon Jr. heroics in the final minute resulted in a 115-114 Bulls win to snap a five-game losing streak. Lemon hit the game-winning free throws with 1.8 seconds left to cap off a 24-point, 8-assist performance in just his third appearance with the club.

But much of the focus at the end of the game was the Cristiano Felicio gaffe at the end of the game that nearly cost the Bulls the game. After Lemon put the Bulls up 113-112, Harrison blocked a Jordan McRae jumper, but the Wizards got the ball back with 14.5 seconds left and called timeout. With the Wizards inbounding the ball under the basket after the timeout, Felicio was late getting back out on the court as the ball was put in play, resulting in a pair of Chasson Randle free throws following a Harrison foul right under the bucket:

Another view here, with Boylen way out on the court as Felicio sprinted past him:

A pretty massive clown show if you ask me, even though Lemon saved Felicio’s ass in the end.

After the game, Boylen said Felicio was asking one of the coaches if the Bulls had a foul to give, and the head coach seemed confused why the play was allowed to start.

Via K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:

“They just started without him,” coach Jim Boylen said. “Kind of a strange play, I don’t know what to say on that. They usually don’t ever start until everybody gets out there. And if they do want to start, they give you your delay (of game warning) before they start. I think they thought all 10 guys were out there. And they weren’t.”

Felicio offered up a similar explanation:

“I was trying to see if we had a foul to give. I didn’t see that the play started without me. So I just tried to run back,” Felicio said. “I guess (the officials) saw me running over there and they didn’t know what to do besides running the play. I just thought about running back and trying to play defense no matter what.”

And then there’s this quote courtesy of Sam Smith at Bulls.com, which is just kind of sad: “They don’t talk to me all season; now they talk to me,” Felicio said to Dunn with a sigh.

Whatever the hell happened, it was yet another bad look in a season full of them. Mercifully, there are only three games left in this debacle, and then we can look forward to the lottery and praying for Zion Williamson.

And on that note, the Bulls are effectively locked into the No. 4 spot now, giving them a 12.5% chance at the No. 1 pick.