40 for LaVine as Bulls beat Thunder

CHICAGO (AP) — Zach LaVine scored 40 points on 15-for-20 shooting, and the Chicago Bulls beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 123-102 yesterday for their second straight win.

LaVine led the way as Chicago shot 51 per cent (48 for 94) from the field. The All-Star guard was seven for 12 from three-point range in 31 minutes of playing time.

“He was unbelievably efficient on offense,” coach Billy Donovan said. “He was spectacular.”

LaVine’s shots were dropping, one after another, especially when the Bulls needed a lift.

“I’ve always been pretty efficient,” LaVine said. “I think I just got more consistent with shots and started to take some better ones.

“Everything I shoot, I think I should make it.”

Chicago Bulls’ Zach LaVine goes up for a shot against the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. PHOTO: AFP

Lauri Markkanen had 22 points for the Bulls, and Thaddeus Young added 17 points and nine rebounds. Tomas Satoransky finished with 13 points and seven assists.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 21 points for Oklahoma City, which had won three of four. Moses Brown had 20 points and 16 rebounds, and Kenrich Williams scored 14.

“I think tonight we just couldn’t find a way to compete the way we need to for 48 minutes,” Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said.

LaVine made his first five shots — including four three-pointers — as Chicago raced to a 42-28 lead after one quarter.

But the Thunder stormed back with a 15-0 run and took a 50-49 lead with 6:32 left in the half on Williams’ three-pointer from the corner.

LaVine returned to the lineup and Chicago got back on track offensively, outscoring Oklahoma City 21-14 heading into the intermission.

“I just want to come out and give us a good push,” LaVine said. “I wanted to help put the game away.”

LaVine stayed hot early in the third quarter, sinking his first three shots on layups. Chicago outscored Oklahoma City 31-16 in the third to up its lead to 102-79.

“(LaVine) requires a five-man defence and that showed us an area where we need to improve,” Daigneault said. “A player like LaVine is going to burn you for every little mistake.

“He burned us tonight and there’s a lot we can learn from that.”