When an NBA game drifts into the boring morass of a blowout, fans across the country begin to focus on the most American of pursuits: free shit.
Most arenas in the league have some sort of promotion for fans, depending on what happens in the game. The Washington Wizards are the king of this, with promotions to keep fans engaged throughout the game: If the Wizards lead after one quarter, everyone gets free fries from McDonald’s, and they give away free Chick-fil-A chicken sandwiches if an opponent misses two free consecutive free throws in the fourth quarter.
Of course, these promotions can backfire, and it’s often hilarious when they do. The Sixers had a Big Mac promotion for scoring 100 points back in the dark ages of the 26-Game Losing Streak, and against the Sacramento Kings on March 14, 2014, that ended exactly how you would imagine a Sixers game would end back then:
In the present day, the Lakers have a slightly more dignified promotion, as their fans receive free tacos any time a visiting team fails to crack 100 points in a Los Angeles win. As the moribund Chicago Bulls made their way into town on Tuesday, the Lakers faithful were probably hoping for both a win to right the LeBron-less ship and two fast food tacos, free of charge.
We all know that even the worst fast food tastes better if it’s free, so you can forgive Lakers fans for going apeshit in the fourth quarter, as it looked like their team would blow out the Bulls and keep them under the century mark. Unfortunately for them and entertainingly for the rest of us, the Bulls decided to channel Tom Thibodeau-era tryhard energy, seemingly just to deny Lakers fans of their tacos. From crashing the offensive glass, to getting out on fast breaks as fast as possible, the Bulls were not content with scoring under 100 on Tuesday:
With 5:08 left in the game the score sat 92-76 in favor of the Lakers, and that’s when the fun really started. Over the next five minutes, Chicago both caught fire and intentionally fouled the Lakers in hopes of both mounting a comeback and scoring the 24 points needed to deny the fans free food.
At one point during the comeback attempt, the Bulls made eight out of 10 shots, while adding in three free throws. Here’s Lauri Markkanen draining a three-pointer of a nice in-bounds play to start the rally:
And then there’s the final scramble, with the score sitting at 107-98. Shaq Harrison grabs the ball and pushes the pace like he’s in the Seven Seconds Or Less Phoenix Suns, chucking up a three-pointer with Josh Hart draped all over him. You could hear the relief from the crowd when that shot missed and the ball settled in Ivica Zubac’s hands... but the Bulls wouldn’t give up that easily.
Ryan Arcidiacono knocked the ball out of Zubic’s hands and somehow kept it in play, which ended up with Harrison again trying to shoot a taco-denying three, only to be fouled by Zubac for three free throws. Harrison nailed the first one and then bounced the second one in off the rim, savagely deflating the crowd’s hopes. Harrison left the third free throw short, leaving the Bulls at 100 and the Lakers fans with a taco-less win. This is undoubtedly the highlight of the Bulls’ season.