The Los Angeles Lakers departed for a five-game road trip with an emotional boost by way of Andre Ingram being signed to a 10-day contract, then with news of Kyle Kuzma returning from a sprained right ankle that cost him the two previous contests.
Yet the team was still slow out of the gate and trailed the Chicago Bulls by 18 points at the end of the first quarter. The Lakers’ deficit grew to 20 points early in the second before LeBron James began to spearhead a comeback win.
James dazzled with an array of moves, hitting from deep and attacking the rim at will. One dunk in particular had the United Center buzzing, as he took an alley-oop pass off the backboard from Josh Hart, which essentially iced the game.
Following the 120-107 win, Hart joked he needed to attempt such a pass rather than rising up for a dunk of his own because of implications for the Lakers’ next game, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“I knew if I was going to dunk, I might be out the next game. And if I didn’t do that, it would’ve been a layup and not really that much fun. So I was just like, ‘Let’s just have fun with it.’ “
Hart has been playing through knee tendinitis for much of the season, but recently revealed the issue is much more serious. He did not offer specifics but said the knee trouble would need to be addressed during the offseason.
As for the pass to James, it not only put an exclamation point on the Lakers’ comeback win but led to a joyous moment for the players, which has been hard to come by amidst their slide toward the bottom of the Western Conference standings.