The Chicago Bulls are tanking.
They aren't going to come out and say as much, especially after Mark Cuban was Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday, they simply sat Robin Lopez and Justin Holiday despite nothing being wrong with either of them.for doing so, but they're definitely tanking. For their game against the
Sure, they explained it by wanting to get their young guys more playing time, but it was also in large part because they were trying to lose the game. And, somehow, they did, pulling off one of the all-time tanking losses in recent memory.
Right from the tip, it seemed the Bulls' plan was working to perfection, as the Sixers jumped out to a 25-7 lead after the first few minutes. But by the end of the first quarter, the Bulls were down by just four, and at halftime they held a two-point lead.
Things were pretty even the rest of the way. With one minute left, the Bulls had a five-point lead. With 10 seconds remaining it was three. A big night from Bobby Portis, who finished with a career-high 38 points, as well as an incredible performance from behind the arc (18 for 34 on 3-pointers as a team) had the Bulls on the verge of inexplicably winning a game they didn't want to win.
And then, the tank arrived.
J.J. Redick hit two free throws with eight seconds remaining to cut the lead to one point. Then, Denzel Valentine threw the ensuing inbounds pass away and doubled down on his mistake by fouling Ben Simmons. The star rookie hit both free throws to put the Sixers back in front 116-115.
JOJO STEALS THE INBOUND!— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) February 23, 2018
BEN GETS FOULED AND KNOCKS DOWN TWO FROM THE LINE!
116-115, us | 4Q | 5.6
A few seconds later, after the Bulls missed multiple opportunities in the paint, that was the final score. Somehow, despite battling back from an 18-point deficit, leading by five with a minute to play and three with 10 seconds left, the Bulls had lost. Just as they had set out to do.