CHICAGO (AP) — Lauri Markkanen scored 24 points and drove for the go-ahead layup in the closing seconds to lead the Chicago Bulls to a 114-112 victory over Oklahoma City on Friday and their first win under coach Jim Boylen.
The Thunder’s Russell Westbrook had just hit a tying layup when Markkanen beat Paul George and banked in a layup over the outstretch arm of Steven Adams, making it 114-112 with 4.9 seconds left.
George’s 3-pointer from the top of the key then ricocheted off the rim, and the Bulls came away with the win after dropping seven in a row.
They also gave Boylen something to celebrate in a difficult week. The longtime NBA assistant took over Monday when Fred Hoiberg got fired following a 5-19 start, and the Bulls lost the following night at Indiana in his debut.
Markkanen hit four 3-pointers in his third game back after missing the first 23 because of a sprained left elbow.
Zach LaVine scored 25. Justin Holiday scored 20, going 4 of 6 from beyond the arc, and Jabari Parker finished with 16 points.
Westbrook had 24 points, 17 rebounds and 13 assists in his 109th triple-double, though he also turned the ball over 10 times. Adams finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds. George and Dennis Schroder each scored 19, but the Thunder’s four-game win streak came to an end.
The Thunder outscored Chicago 29-17 in the third quarter to turn a 70-62 halftime deficit into a 91-87 lead going into the fourth quarter.
They were up 98-91 when Chicago went on a 14-2 run, with LaVine hitting a tiebreaking 3 and Markkanen adding two free throws to make it a five-point game with 4:46 remaining.
Thunder: Coach Billy Donovan said “nothing was brought to my attention” about possibly adding C Joakim Noah, trying to revive his career after signing with Memphis this week. “Our roster’s pretty complete so that’s probably the biggest thing,” he said. “No one’s a bigger fan and admires him more than I do.” Noah starred for Donovan on back-to-back NCAA championship teams at Florida and spent his first nine NBA seasons in Chicago before spending two with the New York Knicks.
Bulls: Boylen wasn’t sure if G Kris Dunn (sprained left MCL) and F Bobby Portis (sprained right MCL) will return from their injuries Saturday when the Bulls host Boston. “I’m not trying to be vague; I don’t know yet. We kind of wait to see how they respond in the morning, it’s one of those types of things. We check in and we go from there.” Dunn has appeared in just one game — Oct. 22 at Dallas — while Portis has played in four.
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