The Los Angeles Lakers hosted the Chicago Bulls Thursday night in what was Pau Gasol’s first time facing his former team in Staples Center. The fans in attendance gave Gasol a standing ovation as the Lakers played a video tribute.
As for the actual game, the Lakers looked to avoid tying the franchise record for consecutive losses. The team entered night having dropped their last nine causing their record to fall to 12-34.
Jordan Clarkson opened things up with a three pointer, and Ryan Kelly hit one of his own from the corner as the Lakers came out to a quick 6-0 lead. After Wayne Ellington made a reverse layup, Joakim Noah used the glass to as the Bulls came within two. Scores from Carlos Boozer and Jordan Hill stretched the lead to six. A tip-in from Boozer brought the Lakers to 16 as they enjoyed an eight point lead with five and a half left in the first. Given the opportunity to go against his former teammate, Hill attacked Gasol and drove past him for a layup. Jeremy Lin went through the defense to get his own layup and extend the Laker lead to ten. As the quarter came to an end, the Lakers were up 28-19.
The Lakers scored on their first possession with a Ed Davis hook shot. A quick 6-0 run from the Bulls was answered by a Lin layup. Lin continued his strong play by hitting a jumper and finding Wesley Johnson cutting to the basket. Johnson missed, but Boozer was there for the putback as the Lakers enjoyed a nine point lead. After scoring on a layup, Davis converted on two free throws which allowed the Lakers to enjoy a 44-31 lead. Taj Gibson cut the lead to single digits, but the Lakers brought it back to 13 following Ellington and Hill scores. The two teams went back and forth with Jimmy Butler getting drawing Laker fouls and Hill getting baskets in the paint. After leading as much as 14, the half ended with the Lakers on top 59-48.
After Robert Sacre made one of two free throws, Hill made the first Laker basket with a jumper. The lead reached 15 after Ellington nailed a three point shot off an inbound pass. With the Bulls starting to trim their deficit, Hill showed off his footwork with a spin and layup. A Butler shot cut the lead to nine, but Sacre scored on a jump shot on the other end. Following free throw attempts from Jeremy Lin, the Bulls got baskets from Noah and Rose hoping to start a run. Hill scored again as he upped his point total to 19. The Bulls threatened again, but Clarkson got a steal and converted on a floater to keep the Lakers up nine. Soon afterwards, eight answered points caused Bulls to come within two. Clarkson ended the run with a layup as the Lakers still held the lead after three with a score of 80-76.
The Lakers opened the quarter showing some hustle. After Ellington dove to the floor after turning the ball over, Boozer missed a layup only for Davis to clean it up. Ellington showed off his speed to get to the rim in transition to get the lead to six. Sloppy play allowed the Bulls to come within a single point. Another Ellington layup gave the Lakers a little breathing room. The run continued as baskets from Boozer, Lin, and Sacre brought the score to 92-83. The Bulls cut into lead following a Gasol jumper and Derrick Rose runner. Good defensive plays from Sacre and Clarkson limited the damage. Clarkson made an impressive offensive play by drawing a foul on Noah and hitting a layup for a three point play. Hill hit a jumper to put the Lakers up nine with a minute and half to go. Gasol capped off a fast 9-0 run as the Bulls tied the game with 11 seconds left. Hill missed the winning shot as the game went to overtime with the score 98-98.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) January 30, 2015
Hill turned the ball over on the first Laker possession as Rose drained a three pointer to give the Bulls their first lead of the night. The Lakers got two points on Sacre free throws, but Gasol got them right back by hitting a jumper. Facing a five point deficit, Clarkson missed an elbow jumper, but was sent to the free throw line next time down the court. Ellington made it a one point game with 50 seconds left by getting a layup to go in. After Sacre fouled Gasol, the Bulls saw their lead extend to two. Hill tied the game with a long two as the Bulls took over with 16 seconds remaining. Rose missed the potential game winner. The teams went into another period of overtime with the game tied 106-106.
Ellington gave the Lakers the lead with a jump shot as Clarkson locked down Brooks to force a 24 second violation. A reverse layup from Ellington brought it to 110-106. Clarkson responded to a Gasol basket by hitting a jumper to keep the lead at four. After Gasol split a pair of free throws, Ellington missed a triple as Hill blocked a Rose layup to preserve the three point lead. With just under two minutes left, Hill extended it to five with a jumper. Johnson matched Butler’s free throws with a hook shot at the rim. As the Bulls resorting to fouling, the Lakers held on to win by a score of 123-118.
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