Dan Woike asked NBA players to tell us about the best game in their basketball career. This week: Taj Gibson.
April 27, 2014: Wizards 98, Bulls 89
32 points, 13-16 FGs, 6-7 FTs, 7 reb.
Taj Gibson, the former USC star, has built an NBA career as a fearless veteran big man, who could guard anyone while alternating between mid-ranger jumpers and dunks on offense. His pick for best game ever came during the 2014 playoffs after the best season of his career. Fueled by an end-of-season award snub, Gibson almost helped the short-handed Bulls steal a playoff win.
“I would say my best game would probably be Game 5 of the first-round series the year we played the Washington Wizards. I think we were the four seed and they were the five seed, but we didn’t have Derrick Rose. We were completely under-manned. but we fought that year — Joakim [Noah] won defensive player of the year. I was coming off the bench behind Carlos [Boozer] and I lost — well, runner-up for — sixth man of the year. This was the game right after they had announced it. I was just sad, disappointed, because I really thought I had a good shot. But Jamal [Crawford, who won] is a great player. Now, I’m just ecstatic to have been in it, but I was disappointed in the moment. I remember Thibs [coach Tom Thibodeau] telling me to ‘just go out there and play like you’re frustrated.’ I went out there and had 32 off the bench. We lost, it was a tough game, but it was one of those games where I poured my heart into it.”