Basketball / NBA

Bulls outlast Hawks in 4OT epic


The Chicago Bulls are playing their best basketball of the season at a time many might have thought the focus would be shifting to the NBA draft lottery.

The wins are making Lauri Markkanen hungry for more.

Markkanen made three free throws to give Chicago the lead for good, Zach LaVine scored a career-high 47 points and the Bulls overcame Trae Young’s career-high 49 points to beat the Atlanta Hawks 168-161 in four overtimes Friday night.

Each team set franchise records for points in a game.

Markkanen finished with 31 points and 17 rebounds. He snapped a 159-159 tie by making the three free throws after he was fouled by Alex Len.

“It was great fun,” Markkanen said. “It should make us feel more hungry. We can do it.”

The Bulls (18-45) have won five of six but still rank only 13th of 15 Eastern Conference teams — one spot behind Atlanta (21-42).

LaVine said the game was exhausting.

“I’ve never been part of a game that long,” LaVine said. “. . .I airballed one because I was so damn tired.”

LaVine was impressed with Young, the rookie who had his third straight game of setting or matching his career scoring high after back-to-back games with 36 points.

“Trae Young is an incredible talent,” LaVine said. “You can already see. He has the ‘it’ factor.”

Young’s tiebreaking, step-back 3-pointer with 2.2 seconds remaining in regulation forced the first overtime. The rookie’s last-second layup tied it 140-140 to force the second overtime.

Young had 16 assists, eight rebounds and nine turnovers. Otherwise, his line was very similar to LaVine’s.

Young made 17 of 33 shots including six 3-points. LaVine made 17 of 35 shots with six 3s. Each played almost 56 minutes.

“That was a fun game to play, probably one of the most fun games I’ve played in my career,” Young said. “. . .I’m proud of the way we fought. We came up short but I love the way we fought.”

Young and DeAndre Bembry had turnovers in the final 30 seconds of the third overtime, preventing the Hawks from an opportunity to snap a 155-155 tie.

Ryan Arcidiacono’s 3-pointer forced the third overtime.

Celtics 107, Wizards 96

In Boston, Kyrie Irving had 13 points and 12 assists, Al Horford scored 18 points and the Celtics beat Washington to snap a four-game losing streak.

Raptors 119, Blazers 117

In Toronto, Kawhi Leonard scored the go-ahead basket with 3 seconds remaining and the Raptors beat Portland.

Leonard scored 38 points and Kyle Lowry had 19 points and 10 assists to help Toronto win for the ninth time in 10 games.

Hornets 123, Nets 112

In New York, Kemba Walker had a team-high 25 points, Jeremy Lamb added 22 and Charlotte beat Brooklyn to snap a three-game skid.

Pelicans 130, Suns 116

In Phoenix, Julius Randle scored 16 of his 22 points in the third quarter in New Orleans’ victory over the Suns.

Bucks 131, Lakers 120

In Los Angeles, Eric Bledsoe finished with 31 points, Malcolm Brogdon added 21 points and Milwaukee ran past the Clippers for its eighth consecutive victory and 10th in a row on the road.

Clippers 116, Kings 109

In Sacramento, Landry Shamet scored eight of his 20 points in the fourth quarter as Los Angeles downed the Kings.