The Los Angeles Lakers take on the visiting Chicago Bulls tonight looking to get back into the win column. Check out our live recap:
The Lakers starting lineup is back to normal tonight as D’Angelo Russell returned after missing Friday night’s game to rest a sore right knee. He was joined by Nick Young, Luol Deng, Julius Randle, and Timofey Mozgov. The starters for the Bulls were Rajon Rondo, Jimmy Butler, Nikola Mirotic, Taj Gibson, and Robin Lopez.
The Bulls took an early lead from baskets by Gibson and Rondo, but the Lakers responded quickly after Randle hit a straightaway jumper and Russell connected on a transition three-pointer. A Rondo pick-and-roll with Gibson led to an easy dunk that was followed by a pair of Butler free throws to take a 10-7 Chicago lead with under eight minutes to go. A Young three-pointer stopped an 11-0 Bulls run that saw Butler take advantage of a smaller Russell guarding him.
After a Lakers timeout, Mozgov scored his first points of the game by hitting a 15-foot jumper to bring the Lakers within three points midway through the quarter. Mirotic was able to get Brandon Ingram to commit a foul while trying to shoot a three-point basket but only made one free-throw.
Butler continued his strong quarter by connecting on a mid-range shot to make him the first player in double-figures for the game (11 points). The Lakers early shooting struggles continued as Jordan Clarkson was unable to score on a short jumper but ended the quarter on a high note as Ingram found Larry Nance Jr. for a slam-dunk and Lou Williams hit a half-court three as the period ended to tie the game at 30.
Los Angeles started the quarter quickly as Ingram, Williams, and Nance Jr. connected on baskets to give the Lakers a 40-32 lead forcing Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg, to call a timeout. The Lakers strong play continued as Clarkson found Nance Jr. for an alley-oop to get the team and fans on their feet.
Three quick triples from the Bulls brought them back within three points that forced Lakers coach, Luke Walton, to call a timeout to regroup his team. After the timeout, Gibson slammed home a nice bounce pass from Butler to cut the deficit to one with fewer than six minutes left to play.
A Russell steal and quick baskets by Williams and Young got the Lakers running again pushing their lead back to eight. Once again, Chicago countered on a Butler make, bringing his point total to 17, and a Mirotic free throw to cut the lead to five with two and a half minutes to play.
The Bulls ended the quarter on an 11-2 run to take 62-61 lead head into the half.
The quarter began a little slow as both teams missed their first few shots. Deng ended the dry spell when he drained a three-pointer to score his first points of the night. Mirotic responded with a three of his own accompanied by another Butler lay-up, adding to his growing point total. Another Deng three-pointer prompted a Bulls timeout as the Lakers led 75-67 with over seven minutes to play.
After the timeout, Chicago capitalized on a couple of Lakers turnovers to tie the game at 78 that forced a Lakers timeout. Nance Jr. ended a Bulls 11-0 run on a putback slam dunk, but Butler responded with a dunk of his own to give him 31 points on the evening.
The quarter ended a bit sloppy as turnovers and fouls slowed down the game. The Lakers starting unit could not get anything going offensively, but the bench once again came in and provided a nice spark to keep pace with Butler and the Bulls.
The Lakers trailed at the end of the third quarter, 90-85.
An alley-oop to Nance Jr. got the Lakers going to start the quarter but Isaiah Canaan and Gibson responded with baskets for the Bulls to give them their biggest lead of the game, 10 points. An easy lay-up by the Bulls forced Walton to call a timeout.
Williams finally stopped the bleeding by hitting a three-pointer but Canaan quickly hit a three of his own, bringing him to 17 points for the night. Clarkson was able to record his first make of the night, a three-pointer, to bring the Lakers within nine points midway through the quarter.
Butler’s strong offensive night continued as he connected on two consecutive lay-ups that was followed by a Gibson and-one, giving the Bulls a comfortable lead with the quarter winding down.
As been the case throughout the season, the Lakers fought back to get within five points, but it wasn’t enough. The Lakers lost their second straight game, falling 118-110 to the Bulls.
Butler finished with a monster game; 40 points, seven rebounds, and six assists to lead Chicago, and Williams finished with 25 points to lead the Lakers.