LaVine scores 47 as Bulls outlast Hawks, Leonard nails game winner
By Agence France-Presse
Zach LaVine scored a career-high 47 points as the Chicago Bulls overcame Trae Young’s career-high 49 to defeat the Atlanta Hawks 168-161 in a four-overtime NBA marathon on Friday.
Lauri Markkanen snapped a 159-159 tie by making three free throws in the fourth overtime to put the Bulls ahead for good.
It was the third highest scoring game in NBA history as both teams set franchise records for points in a game.
Markkanen finished with 31 points and 17 rebounds for the visiting Bulls, who topped their 156-155, quadruple-overtime win at Portland on March 1984.
“I’ve never been part of a game that long,” LaVine said. “I airballed one because I was so damn tired.”
Markkanen was fouled by Atlanta’s Alex Len on a three-point attempt with just under two minutes left the final overtime and made all three. It was part of a 7-0 Bulls run that gave them their fifth win in a half dozen games.
LaVine also had nine rebounds and nine assists while Otto Porter delivered 31 points and 10 rebounds in the win.
Young set a franchise record for the most points by a Hawks rookie. He shot 17-of-33 from the floor and added 16 assists and eight rebounds.
“That was a fun game to play, probably one of the most fun games I’ve played in my career,” Young said.
Atlanta appeared to be headed to a victory late in the fourth quarter when Young drained a shot from beyond the arc to give them a three-point lead with two seconds left.
But with 0.4 seconds remaining, Atlanta’s Dewayne Dedmon was whistled for a foul on Porter’s three-point shot. Porter made all three free throws to tie the game at 124-124 and sent it to overtime.
Elsewhere, Kawhi Leonard rattled in the game winner with 1.5 seconds left to lift the Toronto Raptors to a nail-biting 119-117 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.
Mark Gasol, who was starting for just the second time as a Raptor, scored 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds and Pascal Siakam tallied 16 points for the Toronto, who have won four straight contests at home over Portland.
– Aggressive Leonard –
Leonard finished with 38 points, capping his night with a 12-foot baseline jumper from the right side that bounced four times before dropping through the net in front of a crowd of 19,800 at Scotiabank Arena.
“We tried to run a play like that a little earlier on and I ended up kicking ball to Kyle (Lowry). He made the layup but this time I was aggressive and took it to the base line and made the shot,” said Leonard. “My teammates kept telling me to be aggressive.”
Leonard also made two clutch free throws down the stretch and a key bank shot with just over four minutes to play.
Lowry had 19 points, 10 assists and seven boards and Danny Green added 11 as the Raptors improved to 46-17 on the season. They have won seven of their last eight meetings against Portland.
CJ McCollum had 35 points, and tied his career best with seven three-pointers, to lead the Trail Blazers who dropped to 38-24.
The loss snapped Portland’s five-game win streak.
Portland was missing Turkish big man Enes Kanter, who was unable to cross the American northern border because of visa concerns.
Kanter decided not to travel to Canada after Turkish prosecutors said they’re seeking an international arrest warrant for the player, accusing him of being a member of a terror organization.
Kanter commented on his inactive status before the game, writing on social media, “Enes Kanter — OUT (Dictatorship)”
Kanter, who signed with Portland last month, declined to travel earlier this year to an NBA game in London because he said he feared for his safety. He has been an outspoken critic of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Also, Eric Bledsoe scored 31 points, Malcolm Brogdon added 21 points, and the Milwaukee Bucks beat the host Los Angeles Lakers 131-120 for their eighth consecutive victory.