The Los Angeles Lakers picked up a big comeback win over the Chicago Bulls in a game that looked like it was going to be an upset loss for much of the evening.
Despite an extremely rocky first three quarters, the Lakers managed to walk away with their sixth straight win thanks to the contributions of their bench players, their aggressive defense, and the tireless efforts of LeBron James.
There was a lot to take away from this game but first and foremost, it was impossible not to be impressed by James’ performance. He recorded his third triple-double in a row, scoring 30 points while grabbing 10 rebounds and dishing 11 assists. However, the energy that he provided was even more important than his stat line.
Every time it seemed like the Bulls were going to slam the door shut on the Lakers and pull ahead to an insurmountable lead, there was James, making the plays needed to keep the Lakers in striking distance. Even when his younger teammates were making unforced errors or making uncharacteristic mistakes on the defensive end, James was hustling all over the floor to close out on shooters, disrupt passing lanes, and generate open looks.
He did just enough for the Lakers to stay in the hunt and in the fourth quarter, they got things going and surged ahead for the win.
It wasn’t all good as the Lakers looked out-of-sync at best and perhaps disinterested at worst for much of the game.
They committed one mental error after another, turning the ball over in almost comical fashion. Against a Bulls team that relies heavily on the generosity of their opponents to commit turnovers and give them opportunities to run, the Lakers failed to execute their game plan and coughed the ball up over and over again.
That said, the Lakers ultimately walked away with the win, and that’s the most important takeaway.
The bench led by Kyle Kuzma, Alex Caruso, Dwight Howard, and Quinn Cook, all stepped up in a big way to secure the win. The bench has struggled since the beginning of the season, but in this game, they finally broke out thanks to some impressive defense.
They were a big part of forcing the Bulls into a whopping seven turnovers in the fourth quarter while committing none of their own, which would give the Lakers the chance they needed to pick up the win and secure the best record in the NBA.