His team is not destined for the playoffs. His career scoring as a fifth-year player is not nearing the top of any list — except for Wednesday night’s top performers.
But Zach LaVine did his best to grab the spotlight, scoring 39 points, capped by the game-winning layup with 1.6 seconds left, to lift the Chicago Bulls over the playoff-bound Philadephia 76ers 108-107.
Here is the winning drive and layup, which came from a Robin Lopez assist:
LaVine’s drive one-upped Jimmy Butler — for whom LaVine was traded back in 2015, and whose two free throws with 4.8 seconds remaining had given the 76ers a one-point lead in a hotly contested game that saw 20 ties and 19 lead changes.
“I saw the lane and I took it, ” said LaVine in his walk-off interview. He was fouled on the winning layup and purposely missed the free throw to consume time. On the 76ers’ subsequent in-bounds play with only 0.5 seconds left, LaVine broke up the pass from Ben Simmons.
But the game wasn’t over. The clock had started early because Lopez appeared to tip the in-bounds pass, and the horn sounded before anyone caught the ball. But a review determined Lopez had not touched it and the final 0.5 seconds were replayed. The second inbounds pass wasn’t handled by Butler, who finished with 22 points.
Butler apparently wasn’t too happy with his coach’s final-second play calling.
After the presumed loss before the teams had to comeback out Jimmy Butler could be heard yelling “We better draw up a better f****** play if we do”. Brett Brown was close enough to hear it
— Tony Gill (@tonygill670) March 7, 2019
The young bulls are on an upswing since just before the All-Star break, having won six of their last 10.
LaVine, who will be 24 years old on March 10, scored 26 of his 39 points in the second half (13 in both the third and fourth quarters) to lead the Bulls’ rally from eight down with 5:49 left.
This season, he’s averaging a career-best 23.5 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game.
The loss had to be a bitter pill to swallow for the 76ers, fighting to keep home-court advantage for the playoffs with 17 games remaining. Joel Embiid missed his seventh straight game with a sore left knee as the 76ers hope to have him healthy for postseason.
— NBA (@NBA) March 7, 2019
Generational player LeBron James moved into fourth in career scoring, surpassing the player many call the greatest of all-time, Michael Jordan.
The milestone came on a driving layup in the second quarter, which gave LeBron 32,293 points f