Bulls vs. Lakers: Chicago blows 19-point lead, uses last-minute flurry to cover in amazing gambling finish

Last winter, the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers combined for one of the most ridiculous games of the season. Not necessarily for the result, as the Lakers won easily, but because the Bulls embarked on a furious comeback that resulted in a chaotic few minutes for gamblers. On Tuesday night, they did it again in the Lakers’ 118-112 victory. The narrative wasn’t quite as absurd this time around, but the final result was just as heartbreaking for everyone who bet on the Lakers. 

Seven-point underdogs entering the game, the Bulls shocked everyone by building an early 19-point lead that had them in position to not only cover, but secure a rare win. As the fourth quarter started, they still led by 13, and it seemed like this just wasn’t going to be the Lakers’ night. Through the first three quarter, Anthony Davis was just 4-of-13 from the field in his homecoming to Chicago, and the Lakers were shooting 30 percent from 3. 

Instead, the Lakers locked up on the defensive end, holding the Bulls scoreless for the first four minutes of the fourth while embarking on a 16-0 run to take the lead. All of a sudden, not only did the Lakers have a chance to win, but covering the seven-point spread wasn’t out of the question either. 

The Bulls eventually scored to stop the run, but they were completely discombobulated by the Lakers’ run to start the period and never recovered. With LeBron James facilitating, everyone on the Lakers got involved on the offensive end, and with two minutes left in the game their lead had swelled to 13 points at 114-101. In the first 10 minutes of the fourth quarter, they outscored the Bulls 34-8.

Even for how bad the Bulls have been this season, it was a stunning turn of events. At this point, the Lakers not only had the win locked up, but looked to be on their way to covering comfortably. After Quinn Cook drove inside for a layup to put them up 11 with one minute left, nothing had changed. This was going to be a night to remember for Lakers fans and bettors, and one to forget for those rooting for the Bulls. 

Enter Chandler Hutchison

The second-year swingman hasn’t done much in his short NBA career, and was playing in just his first game this season. He isn’t a household name, but no one who bet on this game will forget him any time soon. 

With just under a minute left he drove inside, took the contact from Dwight Howard and converted the layup for an and-one. That cut the deficit to nine points, which is where it stood after he missed the free throw. Things were getting hairy for Lakers bettors, but there was time for just two more possessions in the game. A score or a stop by the Lakers would seal the cover. 

The Lakers held the ball as long as they could, and with the shot clock winding down, Kyle Kuzma launched a 3. No good. Even worse, there was enough time left that the Bulls had to take a shot, and wouldn’t just run out the clock. So Shaquille Harrison drove inside, and kicked it out to a wide open Hutchison, who obliged by draining the 3 to give the Bulls the cover.

With just 18 seconds left, the Lakers ran out the clock and that was the game. Final score: Lakers 118, Bulls 112. The line: Lakers -7. 

Heartbreak city for everyone who took the Lakers, thought their bet was dead, saw it rescued by a miraculous turnaround in the fourth quarter, only to lose it again a few minutes later. Joyous celebrations for everyone who took the Bulls, were counting their money mid-way through the game, watched those bills slip through their fingers then caught them again at the last second. 

That, friends, is why you don’t gamble. Or, perhaps, exactly why you do. 

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