NBA: Bulls end skid with tight win over Thunder


Posted at Dec 08 2018 12:01 PM

Photo from Chicago Bulls' Instagram account

Lauri Markkanen scored 24 points, including a tiebreaking layup with 4.9 seconds remaining, to lift the Chicago Bulls to a 114-112 win over the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night.

Zach LaVine finished with a team-high 25 points for the Bulls, and Justin Holiday contributed 20. Chicago snapped a 7-game losing streak and gave Jim Boylen his first win as a head coach 4 days after he replaced Fred Hoiberg.

Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook recorded a triple-double with 24 points, 17 rebounds and 13 assists in 35 minutes. He also committed 10 turnovers. Steven Adams added a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Thunder, whose four-game win streak ended.

Markkanen pumped his fist after his go-ahead layup. Thunder forward Paul George (19 points) missed on a 3-point attempt on the next possession, and Markkanen grabbed the rebound before time expired.

Both teams had a shot at the victory during a hard-fought fourth quarter.

George made a steal near midcourt and pushed a bounce pass to Dennis Schroder, who converted a fastbreak layup to put Oklahoma City up 110-109 with 34.1 seconds to go. However, Holiday hit a 3-pointer from the left wing on the next possession as Chicago regained a 112-110 lead with 23.2 seconds remaining.

Westbrook made a driving layup that evened the score with 19.2 seconds left. Markkanen then finished the scoring.

Westbrook posted his second triple-double in a row, his fifth of the season and the 109th of his career. He surpassed Jason Kidd (107 triple-doubles) for third place in NBA history earlier this week and now trails only Hall of Famers Oscar Robertson (181) and Magic Johnson (138) on the all-time list.

The Bulls trailed 91-87 entering the final 12 minutes after closing the third quarter on a 10-4 run. LaVine provided a highlight during the run with a thunderous dunk off a feed from Jabari Parker.

The Thunder established an 87-77 lead with 4:02 left in the third quarter. Jerami Grant drilled a 3-pointer to secure a double-digit advantage for the Thunder, who trailed by as many as 11 points in the first half.

Oklahoma City opened the second half on an 11-2 run to transform an eight-point deficit into a 75-72 lead.

Chicago led 70-62 at halftime. It marked the Bulls' first 70-point first half since March 22, 2011, at Atlanta.

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