Chicago Bulls upset Los Angeles Clippers in 109-106 thriller

Chicago Bulls (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images)
Chicago Bulls (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

First quarter

In case you missed it, the game got underway with tip-off shortly after 7 p.m. CST.

The Bulls made a lot of good decisions from the start, and the positivity started at the top with shooting guard Zach LaVine refusing to settle for jumpers again and again from the perimeter. He instead took to the paint by using his athleticism to attack the rim, which seemingly paid dividends for the Bulls so much it became contagious for he and his teammates.

This is not to say the Bulls didn’t shoot the ball well from beyond the arc. The Bulls varied their shot selection enabling the team to open up the floor for added room to score from deep.

At the same time, things didn’t always favor the Bulls. The Clippers led the Bulls 11-5 just north of the 7-minute mark in the first quarter.

Forward Thaddeus Young entered the game as the first reserve off the bench after what appeared to be a cold shooting start from big man Wendell Carter Jr. Typically, rookie Coby White is the first Bulls star off the bench.

Was it a coincidence?

I would say no. Young was seemingly subbed in early after media reports shared of his frustration with how the Bulls are utilizing him.

At the same time, subbing in Young could be viewed as a good coach’s decision after realizing the game could have gotten away from the Bulls quickly had it not been for quick thinking to intervene. Young provided a nearly instant spark off the bench, showing his value to the team. He forced some turnovers and went on to offer a much-needed scoring punch.

Young made a strong case for why the Bulls acquired him in 2019 free agency. He played what could’ve be viewed as his best overall game for the team so far.

Young, the veteran he is, made it a point to take advantage of the matchups early on. He recognized a solid mismatch to expose as it relates to Clippers’ big man Ivica Zubac. Interestingly enough, forward Lauri Markkanen followed Young’s lead forcing the Clipper’s big man out of his comfort zone to defend the three-point line. Another positive to note is the Bulls managed to get after their opponents taking advantage of fast break opportunities.

Still, the Bulls found themselves down 18-21 with just under 3 minutes left in the first quarter. About that time, Bulls’ head coach Jim Boylen called a timeout for the team, which seemingly paid off.

By the end of the first quarter, the Clippers only held a 29-24 lead over the Bulls.