With Luke Walton and the Los Angeles Lakers mathematically not out of the Western Conference playoff race, they defeated the Chicago Bulls to begin a five-game road trip.
Snapping their five-game losing streak, LeBron James led the way with 36 points and 10 rebounds as his three dunks completely changed the momentum of the game.
As the Lakers were down by 20 points to the Zach LaVine-less Bulls, they eventually played with the right defensive intensity to create fastbreak opportunities.
Considering what the Lakers have gone through during the 2018-19 NBA season, Walton was pleased with the team’s effort to come back from an early double-digit deficit on the road and he hopes it carries the team on the remainder of their trip, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“It’s nice to get a win. It felt like it’s been a while, so I’m happy for the guys in there. They feel good. Happy with the way that they chose to re-engage and fight instead of give in when we got down by 20 that first half. We did it by finally putting together some stops, which is what we’re preaching all the time. And then it was really good to see us start to knock down some shots. I think that kind of carried our energy level throughout the rest of the game. Watching tape on Chicago, this team has gotten a lot better since earlier in the season. I know LaVine didn’t play, but they push the pace and they’ve been giving everyone fits, playing at a high level since Porter got here. Happy with the win; that’s how you want to start out a long road trip. Now we’ve got to try to build off of that.”
At this stage of the season, it would be extremely easy for the Lakers to go through the motions. While it was just a win against the lowly Bulls, they played with a similar energy that made them a top-10 defensive team before all of the injuries.
With 15 games remaining, there is value in James developing chemistry with Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, Moritz Wagner and Isaac Bonga. As there is expected to be turnover with the veterans, the young core’s development is still a priority.