The Los Angeles Lakers lived by the three to defeat the Chicago Bulls 117-115. The Lakers shot 12 three-point shots to survive a battle that lasted all 48 minutes. Despite giving away 17 points in turnovers, the reigning champions made up for it by sinking 23 of 27 free throws.
“It was a team win, it was far from perfect,” said Lakers head coach Frank Vogel. “I think we just hung in there, we weren’t playing our best basketball, second night of back-to-back, but we hung in there and competed and grinded it out.”
Lakers forward LeBron James scored 28 points and seven assists. Center Montrezl Harrell made 14 rebounds. Bulls guard Zach LaVine scored 38 points, forwards Wendell Carter Jr and Thaddeus Young made seven rebounds each.
Guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope remains sidelined and forward Anthony Davis did not play due to a right adductor strain injury.
After completing the first 10 games of the season, James feels that the Lakers are at a B+ grade in basketball.
“That’s absolutely okay because we are a team that added basically five new pieces to the rotation,” James said. “We’re still learning each other, we’re still getting accustomed to different lineups, playing with different guys.”
Guard Wesley Matthews and forward Markieff Morris started against the Bulls. James kept the offense going, scoring eight points early in the game. LaVine drained a myriad of shots and forward Daniel Gafford blocked two shots during the first quarter. Guard Talen Horton-Tucker hit a buzzer-beating three-point shot, but the Lakers were behind 28-33 in the first phase.
Guard Coby White poured 10 points in less than two regulated minutes to start the second quarter. The Lakers fought back by making blocks and taking charges. A layup by Morris brought the Lakers within two points of the Bulls and the game stayed close for the rest of the half. With 2.2 seconds left, forward Kyle Kuzma sank a three-pointer and the Lakers went into the half ahead 59-58 against the Bulls.
The Bulls came into the third with a 10-2 run led by Wendell Carter Jr., but Chicago began making mistakes. Their fouls took Lakers players to the free throw line and the Purple and Gold were able to rally back.
Matthews scored back-to-back threes to put the lakers in the lead.
“The more you get comfortable, you settle in and all the work that you put in just starts to come full circle,” Matthews said. “ I get activated in the game on the defensive end, so that’s what helped spur the offense.”
Bulls players retain their energy and keep the game close, they entered the fourth quarter four points behind the Lakers.
Caruso and Harrell gave the Lakers a nine-point lead. Despite having four fouls, Schroder stayed on the hardwood. The Bulls combated with close-range shots to chop down their deficit. LaVine battled on both ends to help keep the Bulls in the game. However, the Lakers refused to drop two games in a row.
“I definitely think this team has built the mindset that we’re not looking to lose two games in a row at any point this year,” Harrell said. “We went in and got the job done.”
The Lakers travel to play against the Houston Rockets on January 10 at 4:00P.M.