Basketball is so freaking weird.
One night after losing 83-73 in arguably the worst NBA game of the season, the Bulls take down the Los Angeles Clippers 109-106 in a hard-fought win. While the Clippers were without Kawhi Leonard, Patrick Beverley, and Lou Williams, this was still one heck of an unexpected victory.
Not only did last night’s loss mark the lowest-scoring game of the NBA season, but earlier today John Paxson spoke out to the media for the first time and didn’t provide a lick of encouraging words. Regardless of all the negativity, the Bulls players managed to come out and play one of their best games of the season.
Chicago shot 47.1 percent from the field and 45.2 percent from downtown. The team outrebounded the Clippers 50-40 and won the points in the paint battle 50-46.
The Bulls finish the game +10 on the glass (50-40), just the second time all season they've won the rebounding battle by double digits.
— Jeff Mangurten (@JeffGurt) December 15, 2019
For most of the game, it just looked like another performance where the Bulls would blow things late. After finding their way back into the game after once being down 15, the Bulls pulled out to a surprising 14-point lead of their own in the 3rd quarter. In typical fashion, that number was cut down quickly and once the 4th quarter hit, the Bulls were clutching onto an 84-79 lead.
The Clippers tied the game 91-91 at the 7:41 mark, and the game would be a back-and-forth affair until practically the final minute.
Here are the Bulls’ last three made baskets that sealed the team’s first win over a .500 opponent this season. If you put aside your anger for the Bulls, this is pretty darn epic.
Denzel "Washington" Valentine drains the BIG-TIME 3-pointer to knot the game up at 106 with under a minute remaining pic.twitter.com/Tu1uvqWUwx
— Bulls Talk (@NBCSBulls) December 15, 2019
Zach LaVine finished the game with 31 points, making the right play at the right time twice. I called out his decision-making in crunch-time last week, but he executed and did everything right this time around. I’m more than happy to be proven wrong in this situation.
Other strong performances came on the back of Thaddeus Young (17 points) and Lauri Markkanen (13 points and, WOAH, 17 rebounds). Wendell Carter Jr. also came up big multiple times, scoring 14 points with 7 rebounds.
We can never take too much away from one win with this team, but I will say, I’m pleasantly surprised by the energy we saw from these players tonight. It’s easy to get discouraged with all the negative buzz surrounding the team (and the constant losing), but these guys actually looked locked in tonight. Multiple times even the players on the bench were up on their feet and cheering on their teammates. These guys looked like they wanted to win together tonight, and that’s not something we’ve seen often this season.
I’m sending a big thank you to these guys for playing their butts off and giving us something to smile about. The organization may be a full-on dumpster fire, but these players might be trying to rise through the ashes.