The Los Angeles Lakers were without Anthony Davis and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, but still managed a pick up a narrow 117-115 victory over the Chicago Bulls.
The Bulls were the aggressors to begin the game as they attacked the middle of the floor, but LeBron James made it a point to get into the paint and keep the Lakers close. James later gave them their first lead after hitting a tough turnaround jumper, while the defense forced three Chicago turnovers.
Dennis Schroder had a rough stint in the middle of the quarter by committing a pair of turnovers, while Zach LaVine found his groove getting to the cup and knocking down a pair of 3s. The defense’s inability to contain LaVine had the Lakers down 33-28.
Coby White heated up from the field at the top of the second, scoring Chicago’s first 10 points and leaving Los Angeles in a double-digit hole. The Lakers responded with a quick 10-2 run keyed by Montrezl Harrell and the rest of the bench, but Thaddeus Young was able to keep the Bulls ahead with a couple of hook shots.
The improved defensive effort picked up for L.A. as they did a better job of earning stops, while Schroder bounced back from his rough start and was finally able to get into a rhythm offensively. Kyle Kuzma nailed a 3 at the end of the quarter, and the Lakers went into the half with a slim lead at 59-58.
It was a sloppy start to the third for Los Angeles as a couple of James miscues led to a 7-0 run for Chicago. However, the Lakers eventually answered with a 12-0 run of their own and took a 83-77 lead.
Wesley Matthews found his shooting stroke, knocking down four straight 3s to extend the L.A. lead. Chicago battled back to stay within striking distance, but the Lakers went into the fourth up 92-88.
Harrell was able to stabilize the offense as he muscled in a few baskets to give them a nine-point lead. A James and-1 put the Lakers up double-digits, but the Bulls were able to go on another 7-0 run to get back in the game.
Each time it looked like Los Angeles would pull away, Chicago found a way to keep it competitive. Things went down to the wire, and even after James finished a tough basket in traffic, the Bulls weren’t put away for good.
Chicago had a chance for the final possession of the game, needing a basket for the win, but LaVine missed a fadeaway and the offensive rebound was fumbled out of bounds.
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