The circus came to Staples Center as the Chicago Bulls made their fourth stop on their seven-game “circus trip.” The Los Angeles Lakers handled their business in Staples tonight as they defeated the Bulls 98-91.
The Lakers got their first taste against a Eastern Conference contender tonight. The teams came into tonight’s contest as the two top rebounding teams in the league.
The Lakers started the game shooting 25% and Kobe Bryant scored the first seven points. Ron Artest saw little action as he picked up several fouls in the opening minutes of the game. Bryant scored nine of the Lakers’ first eleven points. The Lakers continued cold on their shooting as the team shot 27% through nine minutes of the quarter.
Mr. Perfect,Pau Gasol, missed his first attempt as he tried to put in a running hook in traffic. The Lakers converted all their attempts at the free-throw line since the team went 8-8 from the line in the quarter. Lamar Odom had a great start as he had seven points and three boards in the opening quarter. Shannon Brown’s confidence is beyond sky-high after he connected with a contested three-pointer as time expired. Brown’s three tied the game at 26 to end the first quarter and left the Lakers shooting 35% in the quarter.
The Killer B’s continued their great performance as they created two Bulls’ turnovers and another Brown three-pointer to start the second. Brown was the active player in the quarter with 18 points. Bryant continued to add to his scoring total in the second after he converted a three-point play.
The Bulls kept the game close despite the 10 turnovers they gave away in the half. Joakim Noah was a hassle for the Lakers’ big men with all the low post rebounds he got his hands on. Noah finished the first half with nine boards and Derrick Rose added 16 points and seven assists. The Bulls outrebounded and outscored the Lakers in the paint by 10 in the first half. The Lakers finished the half leading 51-49 and shooting 38%.
The Lakers opened up the third with two free-throws by Odom. Los Angeles started the quarter on a 8-0 run and led the Bulls by 10. The Bulls cut through the lead after a timeout and the Lakers hit a dry spell with several missed Artest three-point attempts. Bryant stopped the dry spell with one of his signature fade-away jumpers over Noah. Rose kept the Lakers frustrated as he weaved his way around the Lakers’ defense.
While the Lakers played flat footed on the defensive end, Chicago was able to get 20 second chance points through two quarters and 10 minutes to stay in striking distance. Noah kept his hands all over Gasol while he rejected Gasol’s jumper to grab his third block. Los Angeles managed to escape the third with a one point lead, 74-73 after a strong Chicago Bull’s defensive third quarter.
Odom opened up the fourth quarter with a two-hand jam for the Lakers. Derrick Caracter made his first appearance of the game with the Killer B’s and scored an easy basket created by Brown and made a nice defensive play by blocking a Bulls’ shot. Brown continued his three-point shooting to bring the Lakers back up by a point with seven minutes left in the game. The Bulls continued to play solid defense as the only Laker to suffer by it was, surprisingly, Gasol who only had nine points and seven assist as the game stood with six minutes remaining.
The Lakers quickly opened up a 12-point lead by back-to-back-to-back three-pointers by Matt Barnes and Steve Blake in a span of a minute. The Bulls managed to cut the Lakers’ lead to seven after the Lakers missed a couple of shot attempts and five points from Noah and Rose. The Bulls were unable to recover from the Killer B’s instant firepower attack. Brown and Odom finish the game and led the Lakers with 21 points apiece.
Los Angeles now improves to 13-2 and met the challenge from a tough Eastern Conference contender. The team now waits to travel to Utah and face the Jazz, but before they travel the Lakers will be able to feast on Thanksgiving dinner at home with their family.
Andrew Bynum is expected to return on Dec. 10 at Chicago.