by Richard Kagan
The Chicago Bulls had frittered away an 18 point fourth quarter lead. Time was running down, and the crowd was getting uneasy.
But Zach LaVine, who basically won the game versus the Minnesota Timberwolves the other night, stepped up and made a stellar defensive play and subsequent slam to give the Bulls a 103-101 lead. He added two free throws to close out the scoring. LaVine stole an inbounds pass from Jonathan Simmons and went to the basket and jammed it home.
The Bulls (20-36) escaped with the 105-101 win over the Orlando Magic. Sometimes, the Bulls don’t do it the easy way. So LaVine provided the heroics.
“I embrace it. you have to get it done. Everybody wants to have the ball in their hands at the end of the game. But you have to have the confidence and ability to do it. I think I do.”
Lauri Markkanen led the Bulls with 21 points and eight rebounds. He went 0-6 from three point range. Bobby Portis had 19 for Chicago. Jerian Grant had a strong game at point guard, scoring 14 points, with seven assists, and 6 rebounds. LaVine scored 18 and came on strong in the latter stages of the fourth quarter.
Chicago played without Kevin Dunn who missed another game due to his concussion that he suffered in Mid-January. He has been cleared of the concussion protocol but the Bulls are being cautious and he may not play until after the All-Star break.
The Magic almost stole this game from the Bulls. Evan Fournier scored 22 points and Mario Hezonja also had 22 points.
Chicago would like to see Dunn, Markkanen, and LaVine on the same court. It appears that the Bulls made out fine in the Jimmy Butler deal. If Dunn can get back healthy.