Hometown hero Lemon pulls out win for Bulls
An NBA game that featured both a memorable GIF and hometown hero can't be all bad, right?
Wednesday's Bulls-Wizards game was no object of beauty, but the Bulls pulled it out thanks to a couple of tough drives to the basket by new addition Walt Lemon Jr.
The South Side native spun in the lane and tossed in a short fadeaway over Washington center Thomas Bryant with 30.2 second left, then drew a foul on another drive and hit the winning free throws with 1.8 seconds left.
Lemon, who spent the season with the Windy City Bulls, finished with 24 points and 8 assists as the Bulls beat Washington 115-114.
"Obviously Walt made some big plays for us, so I'm really happy for him," Bulls coach Jim Boylen said. "He's a fearless little guy and he's a tough kid."
In between Lemon's two late baskets, the Bulls pulled off a comedic gaffe. The Wizards called timeout with 14.5 seconds left while trailing by 1. When play resumed, the referee handed the ball to a Washington player for the inbounds pass, but the Bulls had just four players on the court. Center Cristiano Felicio sprinted into the picture just as the Wizards found the open man under the basket and drew a foul.
"We were late getting out of (the timeout) and everybody ran out and he asked one of our coaches if we had a foul to give and they just started without him," Boylen explained. "Kind of a strange play. They usually don't ever start until everybody gets out there and if they do want to start they give you the delay (warning) before they start."
Boylen is right. Starting the game without 10 players on the court might happen in AAU once in a while, but rarely in the NBA. Washington's Chasson Randle took advantage with the foul and free throws with 12.7 seconds on the clock.
You could joke that the refs were in a hurry to end the game, but they took an absurdly long amount of time on an out of bounds replay review with 1:22 left.
"I've never seen that before," Boylen said of the quick resumption. "I think they thought that all 10 guys were out there and they weren't."
Forward JaKarr Sampson added 18 points and 9 rebounds in his second game with the Bulls. Shaq Harrison finished with 15 points.
Former Bulls forward Bobby Portis produced 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Wizards (32-47), while Jabari Parker left with a knee injury after playing 12 minutes in the first half.
This was the Wizards' first game since firing longtime general manager Ernie Grunfeld, who had been on the job since 2003. Grunfeld might be best remembered for handing out huge contracts to John Wall and Gilbert Arenas.
Injured Bulls forward Otto Porter Jr. was the recipient of a four-year, $106.5-million contract from the Wizards in 2017, but that was actually an offer sheet from Brooklyn that Washington matched.
Porter Jr. spoke to reporters Wednesday afternoon when the Bulls held shootatound at Georgetown, Porter's college home for one year. Hoyas coach Patrick Ewing was a visitor at shootatound.
"This is always going to be my home, so anytime I can come back to Georgetown or come back to D.C., you know I'm always going to pay my respects," said Porter, who grew up in Sikeston, Mo. "Always come back, see my former coaches, and also see the guys. This is my family. This isn't just this is where I went to school. No, this is part of my family. That's what I believe in, that's how strong this brotherhood of Georgetown is to me."