WASHINGTON D.C. – Maybe it’s better if the Bulls don’t have a lead at all for most of the fourth quarter. They’ve not done very well this season when they’ve had the advantage late, so maybe deficits bring out the best in them?
We’ll not typically, but for one night, it worked to pull out a win in what was mostly a bad night.
Trailing the Wizards by 18 points with 8:21 left to go, the Bulls finished the fourth quarter on a 23-5 run to force overtime, then managed to rally again in the extra session. Wendell Carter Jr. hit a pair of free throws then a short hoop with 9.1 seconds left to give the Bulls the lead, and a late defensive stop sealed an improbable 110-109 victory over Washington.
The unforeseen turn of events came after the Bulls failed to lead in the second, third, and fourth quarters, and needed two free throws with no time remaining from Zach LaVine to force overtime. A three-point deficit in the final minute of overtime was erased as the Bulls improved to 11-19 on the season in one of their more improbable victories of the 2019-2020 season to date.
It did come against a Wizards’ team that has fewer wins than they have, however, so getting too out of hand celebrating the win wouldn’t exactly fit. Yet it was a welcome change after a major collapse against the Thunder on Monday.
For most of the game, it looked as if Lauri Markkanen would be the lone bright spot of the game as he came through with 31 points on the evening on 12-of-19 shooting that included grabbing 9 rebounds. The point output was the forward’s second-highest of the season, behind only the 35 points he had on opening night against the Hornets on October 23rd.
Yet the effort seemed as if it wouldn’t be enough when Carter was called for a flagrant foul and Anzejs Pasecniks hit a free throw to make it 93-75 Wizards with 8:21 to go. Then Markkanen started an incredible run to the finish as he scored seven points, but LaVine was the star at the end. He scored the Bulls last seven points in regulation, starting with a layup to make it a three-point game with 1:34 left, then three-straight free throws after drawing the foul with 5.5 seconds left.
After Bradley Beal got a go-ahead hoop with .5 seconds left, LaVine was grabbed by Isaac Bonga going for an inbounds pass from Markkanen, and he hit both free throws to force overtime with no time remaining. Carter then had the touch in the closing moments in overtime, helping the Bulls to a very unusual and improbable comeback win.