Phil used a short rotation in this game, which I thought was a smart move. Only eight guys were utilized, besides rookie Derrick Caracter playing a couple early 4th quarter minutes to give Pau some rest. He did well, accumulating a rebound and basket to clean up a miss, and on the ensuing possession he blocked Luol Deng’s shot. Not a bad night for the rookie. It was the Lakers’ seventh consecutive victory over the Bulls, with a final score of 98-91. The real heroes were of course the bench, which outscored Chicago’s 39-10. More importantly, they came through at critical moments in the game, and during his press conference, Phil mentioned the great defense by the Lakers in the fourth quarter. Kobe only took 18 shots, but he made eight of them and kept his teammates involved. That’s how I like the Lakers to win.
Overall, the game was very entertaining and I really enjoyed watching the two clubs battle. I really think the effort of the Bulls was what kept them in the game, as opposed to the Lakers, who are prone to laziness. That wasn’t the case in this game at all. I also enjoyed seeing Kobe talk to Rose and Noah after the game, as Stu Lantz said that Kobe respects anyone who works hard and gives maximum effort at all times; which those two certainly do. I can’t wait to see what the Bulls do in the Eastern Conference this year, and especially in the playoffs. I’m hoping for another epic series like the Chicago-Boston one a couple years ago – the best non-Lakers series I’ve ever watched!
I’m also looking forward to see how the Lakers respond against Utah. We beat them handily last year in the playoffs, but they seem like a different team right now and I’d be lying if I said their penchant for double digit comebacks wasn’t a little scary. I’m confident our boys will step up to the challenge though.