By Joseph Phillips
In honor of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, guard Zach LaVine drained two clutch free throws down the stretch to lift the Bulls to a 110-109 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night, January, 27, at the United Center.
LaVine’s game winning free-throws down the stretch was very eerily similar to Bryant in the clutch.
“Kobe had a big impact on a whole generation of kids,” said LaVine about Bryant’s impact on his life. “In our generation he was our Michael Jordan.”
LaVine said Bryant was one of his idols growing up as a child and wear’s the number 8 (until this day) because of him.
LaVine also completed his Bryant like performance with 23 points, 3 three-pointers, on 6 of 6 shooting from the charity stripe.
LaVine’s 3 three-pointers on Monday night gave him a season total of 152 threes on the season, passing Bulls great Scottie Pippen for seventh all-time.
The Bulls out-rebounded the Spurs 50-47 on the boards and stopped Spurs star Demar Derozan last second lay-up attempt (for the win) as time expired. Derozan had a chance to tie the game with 2 seconds left, but he only made 1 of his 2 free-throw attempts from the line.
“We lost one of the greatest competitors ever,” said Jim Boylen, head coach of the Chicago Bulls. “(And) To honor him, I thought we needed to go out and compete and play as hard as we could.”
Final Score: Bulls 110, Spurs 109.
With the win, the Bulls improved to 19-30 on the season.
Prior to the start of Monday night’s game, the Bulls honored Kobe Bryant with a video tribute on the scoreboard highlighting his best moments of his career. Both teams respectively took 24 second violations to start the game in honor of Bryant’s number 24.
Kobe surely will be missed by the basketball world.
Chicago Crusader Players of The Game:
Zach Lavine, Bulls, 23 points and two clutch game winning free-throws.
DeMar DeRozan, Spurs, game high 36 points.
Joseph Phillips is a Chicago native, who has been a sports writer for over 15 years. He also hosts the SC Media News and Sports Network Q&A radio show on WHPK 88.5 FM Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.