By Joseph Phillips, Crusader Sports Editor
The Chicago Bulls fell to the Oklahoma City Thunder 124-122 on Tuesday night, February 25, at the United Center, making it their 9th loss in their last 10 games since the end of January.
The Bulls were led by the superb play of guards Zach LaVine and Coby White.
As LaVine finished with a game high 41 points and White, the Bulls rookie sensation, finished with a career high 35 points.
White made NBA history on Tuesday night at the UC, becoming the first rookie reserve to record three consecutive 30-point games. “It’s a lot of hard work paying off I guess,” said White, after making NBA history. “I’ve been working hard my whole life.”
White’s three consecutive 30 point outburst games came against the Phoenix Suns on Saturday, February 22 (33 points), Washington Wizards on Sunday, February 23 (33 points), and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night (35 points). White also combined to score over 100 points in his last three games off the bench.
White said in addition to his 35 point outburst against the Thunder, he was also pleased to play against his mentor and future hall of famer Chris Paul.
White, in a past interview with the Crusader, credits Paul for both mentoring and encouraging him during the off season.
“He tells me to take it one day at a time and that it’s a process,” said White, about Paul’s word of advice and encouragement to him during the off-season. “Just continue to grow and get better,” said Paul. “And you will find your way. Everything is not going to be perfect. But you will find your way, and everything will work out for you in the end.”
So far, White has taken Paul’s advice in stride, as the rookie has become one of the league’s top performers since the All-Star break.
Unfortunately, White’s 35 and LaVine’s 41 was not enough to stop the Thunder, as the Bulls had no answer for Oklahoma City’s swing man Danilo Gallinari, Gallinari scored 21 of his team-high 24 points in the first half.
Gallinari went 5 of 10 from beyond the arc, good enough for 50 percent shooting from the field.
In the second half, after falling behind 72-55 at halftime, the Bulls stormed back to take a 93-91 lead at the end of the third quarter. The Bulls outscored the Thunder 38-19 during the period.
The Bulls had one last opportunity with 2.8 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter but fail short after guard Zach LaVine’s long three-point attempt hit the glass as time expired.
Final Score: Thunder 124, Bulls 122.
With the loss, the Bulls fall to 20-39 on the season and will travel to Madison Square Garden to play the New York Knicks on Saturday, February 29, on the road.
Chicago Crusader Players of The Game:
Zach LaVine, Bulls, 41 points.
Coby White, Bulls, 35 points.