In what’s been a trend since the All-Star break, both Coby White and Zach LaVine had remarkable scoring outputs but the Bulls lost against a not-terrible team, the latest being a 124-122 home loss against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
A late charge call that didn’t go Zach LaVine’s way, some Chris Paul scoring, and the Thunder hitting free throws when the Bulls played the foul game wasted White’s and LaVine’s efforts. The Bulls were one miracle three from Zach LaVine away from securing their second win of the season against a team with a record above .500. But it wasn’t meant to be tonight.
LaVine hit two 3-pointers within the last minute of the game to put the Bulls in position to win. The second one was almost from half court. It put the Bulls down just one point with 16 seconds to play.
The Bulls had to foul Chris Paul who nonchalantly hit two free throws to put the Thunder up three. On the following possession, LaVine missed a contested 3-pointer, but Daniel Gafford grabbed the offensive rebound and laid it back in to pull the Bulls back to within one point with about eight seconds to play.
Chris Paul hit one of two free throws. Thunder up two, Bulls get one more chance.
Zach LaVine drew just about the entire Thunder team on the next possession, tried to pass through a sea of arms to Tomas Satoransky and the ball was volleyed out of bounds. After review, the Bulls retained possession but LaVine was unable to hit one more miracle 3-pointer and the Bulls put another check in the losing column.
It was a heck of a way to lose after Herculean efforts from LaVine and White. The former had 41 points on 19-for-35 from the field. The latter had 35 points including six 3-point field goals.
For the third game in a row, the Bulls rookie scored 30+ points off of the bench. It was a historic achievement.
Meanwhile, Shaquille Harrison set the tone for the Bulls defensively, flying all over the court and finishing with two blocks and two steals when it was all said and done. His efforts helped spark a really significant Bulls comeback in the third quarter.
The third quarter, usually the bane of the Chicago Bulls existence, actually was when they made their rally as I just mentioned. Down 17 at halftime, the Bulls rallied all the way back to two ahead after three on the backs of Zach LaVine and Coby White.
The 17-point halftime deficit coupled with a half-empty United Center on a cold snowy night in Chicago was adding up to another lackadaisical, uninspiring loss. But thanks to LaVine and White, this was probably the most entertaining game of the season.
The Bulls get another shot at it on Saturday after a few more days of rest. Perhaps more rotation guys will return to the lineup by then. The opponent is the New York Knicks.