The Bulls will have a championship in 2016 thanks to their Summer League team
LAS VEGAS – This won’t be one of those things that stays in Sin City, but it won’t be celebrated too heavily beyond the southern Nevada city.
Maybe a little excitement and a crack of a smile for Bulls fans a couple thousand miles away. Perhaps some sarcastic celebrations happened when the Bulls’ first round draft pick hit a dramatic game-tying then game-winning shot against the Timberwolves in the NBA Summer League title game on Monday night.
This isn’t mid-June. This is mid-July. The former is playing for keeps while the latter features players hoping to keep a job for a few more months.
But for what it’s worth the Bulls will have a championship of sorts in 2016 as they won the Summer League Championship in dramatic fashion over the Timberwolves 84-82 on Monday night at the Thomas and Mack Center.
Denzel Valentine, who was picked 14th overall by the Bulls in June’s NBA Draft, tied the game before the end of regulation with a three-pointer then won it with a shot from the top of the key in overtime.
That started a spirited yet tempered celebration for the group of 13 young players under the direction of Bulls assistant Pete Myers. There was even a mid-court trophy celebration and T-Shirts that read “Victory in Vegas” which each player sported as they got their picture with the trophy.
Valentine was the hero of the day despite the fact that his final two shots were apart of a light seven-point game. Bobby Portis, who was named to the Summer League’s first team before the championship game, carried the load for the Bulls scoring a game-high 26 points along with ten rebounds.
But Valentine came up big when the Timberwolves took a lead with three seconds left in regulation on a long three-pointer by Tyus Jones, who was named the Summer League’s MVP before the game. But Valentine responded in the little time as he launched a 25-footer off the inbounds pass and put it in the hoop to send the game to overtime.
The game was still tied with 11 second left when Valentine finished off the game with a spin-around jumper that went into the hoop as time expired to make the Bulls a champion, at least in one respect, for a night in the 2016 season.