NBA 2018-19: Lauri Markkanen was much more than just a scorer tonight
Lauri Markkanen was the star of the match tonight. He scored 24 points, four three-pointers and scored a very crucial layup in the final few seconds to lead the Bulls to a 114-112 victory over Oklahoma City.
He has missed a lot of games due to an elbow injury this season, and his return will surely add value to the team and great support to Zach Lavine.
Although his stats might not say this, Lauri is a smart playmaker. His abilities to read the situation is a sign of a great player. I am not saying he is a great player already, but he is on the right path.
Let me tell you how smart of a player he is because he is much more than just the sats.
Carefully watch the video of the second last possession for the Bulls below:
Lauri takes a dribble handoff from Zach Lavine and goes a layup to his left side. He dishes it to the man outside(Holiday) for a shot as he sees Thunder's defense a little deep in the paint.
Now, the same play was executed during the Bulls last possession. Lauri took the dribble handoff from Zach Lavine and was supposed to dish the ball out to Holiday for a game winner.
But this time the Thunder defense was more active, and they covered the shooters on the wings. Lauri saw a small opening to his opposite side, and he made a spin move and floated it up in the air for the game-winner.
Check out the video of the final play:
Lauri is a fantastic shooter as well a great scorer. But these last few seconds of the match show how far he can go in his career. Keeping that composure in the critical moments of the game is what separates a good player from a great player.
Below is what he had to say after the match:
''We've had a couple of rough weeks here,'' Markkanen said. ''Adversity hit us. I think that made us stronger. (We) have to put the team first and keep going.''
Below is what his coach had to say about him:
“That big Finnish kid isn’t bad,” Boylen said after the game. “He made some great plays down the stretch.”
“He’s smart. Lauri’s not one of those guys that thinks he has to take the winning shot. He’s one of those guys that feels he’s going to make the winning play, whatever that is,” Boylen said. “That’s the beauty of that dude.”
Bulls face Celtics tonight and will enter the match with a lot of confidence.