The Los Angeles Lakers didn’t exactly receive a jolt of energy from the lineup changes, but they avoided the dreaded big deficit in the first quarter and snapped a two-game losing streak by defeating the Chicago Bulls, 107-100.
Like the New York Knicks (nine games) and Cleveland Cavaliers (12) before them, the Bulls went into the matchup at Staples on a losing skid (seven games).
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope made the most of his return to the starting lineup, leading the Lakers through the first two quarters with nine points. He scored six of those while playing the entire first quarter.
And though head coach Luke Walton hoped starting Caldwell-Pope would help create open lanes, he began 1-for-5 from behind the arc. While their offense was turnover-filled, an improved and sustained defensive effort helped keep the Lakers in the game.
Not only that but they led at both the end of the first and second quarters. When the Bulls attempted to make a run in the third, Lonzo Ball found a rhythm and drained three 3-pointers en route to scoring 11 consecutive points for the Lakers.
Chicago made another charge in the fourth quarter, trimming their deficit to just four points. But the Lakers responded yet again and saw their lead grow to as many as 18 points.
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