Chicago Bulls are first NBA team to clinch 2012 playoff spotPosted by Inside Hoops
Lucky? Maybe. Luol Deng’s timing was awful good, too. He grabbed a shot that had been blocked and put it in the basket just before the buzzer sounded Saturday night, rescuing the Chicago Bulls and giving them their NBA-leading 40th victory.
At 40-10, the Bulls clinched a playoff spot.
Teammate C.J. Watson drove for the basket but his shot was partially blocked by Toronto’s James Johnson and Deng was there for the winner. After officials reviewed the play to make sure Deng’s shot beat the buzzer, the Bulls had a 102-101 overtime victory on a night in which they were often outplayed by the 16-win Raptors.
“We’re lucky we had enough time to get the rebound,” Deng said. “When it left my hand it felt good because I saw the light after it left my hand. But then again, you never really know. We waited until they made the decision.”
Johnson, an ex-Bull, had 20 points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots, part of another determined effort by the Raptors, who gave Chicago a scare three nights ago before losing.
“That’s what happens sometimes,” Johnson said.
“The ball happened to fall short after I blocked it and Luol Deng made a great play. We deserved to win tonight, but they made the game-winning play.”
Carlos Boozer had 24 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulls, Deng added 23 points and 10 rebounds, and Watson had 23 points.
– Reported by the Associated Press