The Los Angeles Lakers had their last home game of January on Thursday night, hosting the Chicago Bulls at Crypto.com Arena.
Given how much the Lakers have struggled in recent weeks, this was a game the Lakers really needed to win, and luckily they got it, cruising to a 141-132 victory behind another stellar performance from D’Angelo Russell.
LeBron James missed the Lakers’ last game but made up for lost time early in this one by burying a corner triple to open the game. Former Laker Alex Caruso had it going early too though with eight straight points to give the Bulls an early lead.
The Lakers got hot from 3 there though with Austin Reaves, Taurean Prince and Russell all connecting to make up for Caruso’s early surge.
After a slow start offensively, Anthony Davis eventually got going with a couple buckets and then Rui Hachimura did the same off the bench although the Bulls held a slim 32-31 lead at the end of one.
Jarred Vanderbilt isn’t usually an offensive force for the Lakers but he was in this one with 22 points in his first shift, including a corner triple and a pair of dunks early in the second to help L.A. regain the lead.
The Lakers run continued from there with James and Hachimura drilling back-to-back 3s. That allowed the Lakers to start to take control and after a 3 by Russell, a midrange shot by James and buzzer-beater by Vanderbilt, L.A. went into the halftime locker room leading 73-56.
Russell kept things up to begin the third quarter with a layup and two triples to extend the lead to 20. Russell’s brilliance didn’t stop there though as he made three 3s in a row later in the quarter, bringing the crowd to their feet.
Neither team played much defense in the third quarter as the Lakers outscored the Bulls 39-36 to take a comfortable 112-93 lead into the fourth. The 112 points was the most L.A. had scored through three quarters this season.
The Lakers continued to pour it on to begin the fourth quarter with James connecting from deep. Reaves then had a big transition dunk to again get the crowd going and effectively put the game out of reach.
While the Bulls continued to hang around and got their deficit down to eight in the final minute, the Lakers were never in any real danger of blowing the game.
Up next for the Lakers
The Lakers will now head out on a season-long six-game road trip, starting with Saturday night against the Golden State Warriors. That will mark the first game of the season between the Pacific Division rivals.
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