Gibson’s buzzer-beater gives Bulls OT win vs. Lakers
BY MARK POTASH Staff Reporter January 20, 2014 9:38PM
Chicago Bulls' Joakim Noah right, celebrates with teammate Taj Gibson left, after Gibson made the game-winning shot in overtime to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers 102-100 during an NBA basketball game in Chicago, Monday, Jan. 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
Updated: January 21, 2014 11:25AM
Taj Gibson plays a lot of roles for Tom Thibodeau and the Bulls. But ‘‘No. 1 option’’ usually isn’t one of them.
So you can imagine Gibson’s surprise when the Bulls drew up a play with .9 seconds left in overtime of a tied game against the Los Angeles Lakers and he was the first option.
‘‘When Thibs called my name, I was a little shocked, like, ‘Really?’ ’’ said Gibson, who had never made a buzzer-beating shot in his life. ‘‘I had to poise myself.’’
As it turned out, the game-winning play worked exactly as it was drawn up. Gibson muscled down the lane, took a bounce pass from Mike Dunleavy inbounding underneath the basket, went up and put the ball in off the glass with his left hand to beat the buzzer and give the Bulls a 102-100 overtime victory before 21,626 at the United Center.
‘‘[Thibodeau] just wanted me to attack the basket and try to dunk it or get a foul,’’ Gibson said. ‘‘He told me, ‘Use your left [hand].’ They’re always cracking jokes on me in practice about using my left. Today I proved them wrong.’’
Gibson’s heroics ended a topsy-turvy and entertaining game the Bulls appeared to have clinched in regulation until Lakers swingman Nick Young made three free throws after being fouled by Joakim Noah on a three-pointer with 4.1 seconds left.
The Bulls then fell behind 98-93 in overtime before rallying for their eighth victory in their last 10 games to move to .500 (20-20) for the first time since Nov. 7, when they were 7-7.
With Kirk Hinrich missing most of the second half with a hamstring injury, D.J. Augustin scored 16 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter and overtime.
Noah, battling toe-to-toe with Pau Gasol all night, added 17 points and 21 rebounds. Jimmy Butler (13 points, 11 rebounds), Gibson (12 points, six rebounds), Dunleavy (12 points, three steals) and Carlos Boozer (11 points) also scored in double figures.
Down by five in OT, Gibson hit two free throws and Augustin made a three-pointer and scored on a driving layup to give the Bulls a 100-98 lead with 1:30 to play.
The Bulls squandered two possessions with the lead before Young, who scored 31 points off the bench, made a fadeaway jumper to tie the game at 100 with six seconds left.
Augustin lost the ball out of bounds off a Laker with .9 seconds left to set up the game-winning play.
‘‘They drew up a great play,’’ Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said. ‘‘It was designed well and executed well. We had played baseline and just didn’t slide over.’’
Dunleavy’s inbounds pass can’t be overlooked as a factor.
‘‘I felt like Peyton Manning; I looked over my options and called a couple of Omahas,’’ Dunleavy said. ‘‘[Seriously], when the play started, I knew we had it because of the way the guys were set up. I’m not going to give away what play we ran, but the way they were guarding Taj, I knew he was going to be able to come right down the gut for a layup.’’