The Los Angeles Lakers put their five-game win streak to the test against the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night. LeBron James and the Lakers found themselves in a 17-point hole at halftime. Their team offense sputtered, shooting 41% from the field, 29% from three-point range, and 63% at the free throw line. James led the team in scoring with 16 […]
The Los Angeles Lakers put their five-game win streak to the test against the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night.
LeBron James and the Lakers found themselves in a 17-point hole at halftime. Their team offense sputtered, shooting 41% from the field, 29% from three-point range, and 63% at the free throw line. James led the team in scoring with 16 points, along with 8 rebounds and 4 assists, a near-triple-double pace. Anthony Davis struggled, with just 4 points on 2-9 FG. The Lakers were outscored by 17 points when he was on the floor.
The Bulls enjoyed a good first half, shooting 54% from the field, 35% from three-point range, and 60% from the line. Rookie Coby White paced the Bulls offense with 16 points off the bench. Zach Lavine (12,) Otto Porter Jr. (10,) and Thaddeus Young (8) contributed to a balanced scoring attack.
Once again, it was turnovers killing the Lakers in the first half. They turned the ball over 11 times, allowing the Bulls to score (once again, that magic number:) 17 points off them. Los Angeles forced just six turnovers, turning the extra possessions into eight points.
The Lakers cut into the Bulls lead in the third quarter, led by none other than LeBron James. In the third period, he added 12 points, a rebound, and a pair of assists. This brought his game totals to 28 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists to go along with 2 steals and a block. James was doing a little bit of everything, and the Lakers ended the quarter down just 10, by a score of 90-80.
Production elsewhere was few and far between. At this point, Javale McGee was the only other player in double digits, with 10 points on perfect 4-4 shooting. Davis, Green, Caldwell-Pope, Kuzma, and Cook all added 7 points or more, but only Green shot over 50%. James was 9-17 from the field to qualify as over 50% himself.
The momentum really began to shift in the fourth quarter. Kuzma banked in a shot off the glass, but was fouled. On his and-1 free throw attempt, he missed, but Dwight Howard put it back for an emphatic dunk. This cut the Bulls lead, once 19 points, to just four points. Howard came up big on the next play defensively. Cook would then hit a three-pointer to give the Lakers a 94-93 lead: capping a 14-0 Los Angeles run.
Oh, and this was all with LeBron James on the bench.
The atmosphere in Chicago was electric, as hometown fans had to drown out “Let’s Go Lakers” chants. When James checked back into the game, he was met with a roar of cheers and boos.
For an inter-conference November game on a Tuesday night, the energy from the fans was just about as good as it gets.
The Lakers run ended at 16-0 before the Bulls scored following a timeout.
It felt like the Lakers won the game in that run, but there was plenty of time left to play, over seven minutes. But the Lakers weren’t interested in toying with the Bulls in the final minutes. James, Davis, and Kuzma led an offensive clinic in the fourth quarter, pulling away with the game after it was briefly a back-and-forth affair.
James got his 3rd straight triple double after his 10th assist was dished out.
Los Angeles came out on top 118-112 after an MVP-esque performance from LeBron James in his 17th season. 30 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds for the King. Davis struggled from the field but still finished with 15 points, 7 boards, and 3 assists.
Kuzma added 15 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists off the bench. He started slow, but scored 11 of his 15 in the final period.
The Bulls offense stalled late, but for the game, they outshot the Lakers from the field (51% to 49%.) The big difference was at the free throw line, where the Bulls missed 11 of their 23 attempts. The Lakers only missed on 7 of their 24 attempts.
The win gives the Lakers their first six-game win streak since 2011, and also gives James his third straight triple double. The Lakers now stand alone atop the Western Conference, and have looked incredible ever since their season-opening loss to the Clippers.
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