Monday night's contest between the Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls at United Center did not have quite the appeal that NBA schedulers hoped when they made it a showcase of the league's MLK Day schedule. With stars Kobe Bryant and Derrick Rose on the sidelines with injury and both teams playing at levels below preseason expectations, the league and TNT dumped the game from national broadcast weeks ago, instead opting for a matchup between the Houston Rockets and surprising Portland Trail Blazers. But, even if Bulls/Lakers didn't stand out as much as many would have liked, the game was not without its exciting moments.
After the Lakers forced overtime on three Nick Young free throws following a Joakim Noah foul with mere seconds left in regulation, the two teams played to another stalemate heading into the last possession of the extra period. With 0.9 seconds on the clock and a second overtime looking likely, inbounds passer Mike Dunleavy found Taj Gibson cutting to the hoop, Gibson put up a quick lay-up, and the Bulls won 102-100.
The key moment in the play is Jimmy Butler's cut, which cleared a lane for Gibson to move towards the basket and get a decent shot up in enough time. Butler's movement effectively served as a lead block for Gibson.
Although it's unlikely that TNT regretted the decision to dump the Bulls and Lakers from their schedule, it is somewhat notable that they pulled away from the Rockets' comfortable win over the Blazers to catch the last few plays of regulation and overtime in Chicago. At least fans at home got the best of both worlds — superior teams and the more exciting finish.
(Video via The Point Forward)
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