The Los Angeles Lakers thwarted the young Chicago Bulls 103-94. Chicago came out strong, but could not respond to the Lakers’ rally in the second half.
Rookie phenom forward Kyle Kuzma led all scorers with 22 points and rookie sensation Lonzo Ball made 13 rebounds. Chicago forward Denzel Valentine scored 17 points and forward Lauri Markkanen made 14 rebounds.
“Winning is the most important thing,” said forward Juluis Randle. “[The Bulls] took a lot of pressure shots, it gives us momentum getting those stops.”
The game opened with Kuzma dunking on the first play. Valentine and guard Kris Dunn countered with buckets of their own. Ball was on the receiving end of an alley-oop, edging the score up to 19 points. Center Robin Lopez managed the front court scoring eight points into the first 12 minutes. Forward Denzel Valentine and Lopez challenged the Lakers on both sides of the ball. While Kuzma scored 10 points, Washington scored 11 points and Robin had eight points.
Los Angeles reached a 10-point deficit in the second quarter. They were bested by guard Antonio Blakeney, who scored 15 points in eight regulated minutes. After a dunk, Blakeney earned a technical foul. Ingram and Kuzma rallied for the Lakers, but their efforts were rendered useless by the accurate three-point shooting of the Bulls.
Lakers youths anchored the team’s first half effort with Ingram scoring nine points and three assists, Ball with seven rebounds and three assists and Kuzma with 18 points. Los Angeles, however, had 12 turnovers, making half in the second quarter.
Los Angeles went on an 8-4 run in the early minutes of the second half and they were within 13 points of Chicago. Head coach Luke Walton referenced to the accuracy the Bulls shooters had on the perimeter.
“Chicago got whatever they wanted,” Walton said. “They moved the ball side to side, hit rhythm three-point shots. We had to find people to spark us. Once we got sparked, our guys did a great job.
Although they were down by as much as 19 points, Los Angeles made a comeback. Randle began executing in the paint when the Bulls’ offensive pace slowed down. He made a block to run and score a bucket and the Lakers were within seven points.
“They came off the bench with great energy, we just feed off them,” said guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope said. “We had one turnover in the second half. That’s what turned it around for us.”
In the fourth quarter, Hart made his second dunk of the night to tie the game at 80 points. Chicago forward Bobby Portis and Dunn enforced a seven-point run. Caldwell-Pope put on an 11-point performance in the last quarter.
“Josh (Hart), fresh off of G League came right back and didn’t miss a beat,” Ball said. “[He] came in and gave great minutes.”
Caldwell-Pope scored 21 points and three steals, forward Brandon Ingram scored 17 points. Randle made a double-double with 10 rebounds and 10 points.
The Lakers will return home to battle the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday November 29.