In a gritty matchup against two shorthanded teams, the Los Angeles Lakers ultimately fell short against the Chicago Bulls, losing 115-110.
With Anthony Davis out, DeAndre Jordan got the nod at center and flushed a lob from Russell Westbrook to start the game. Isaiah Thomas also got the start and drained his first three of the night to briefly bring the Lakers within one before the Bulls took advantage of several turnovers to push their lead back to six early.
Trevor Ariza made his long-awaited 2021-22 season debut and found Carmelo Anthony in the corner for a triple, though Los Angeles remained down nearly double digits. Russell Westbrook was able to get a layup to go at the buzzer, but Los Angeles trailed 28-22 after one.
LeBron James provided an exclamation point with a dunk in transition and later lasered a pass to Ariza for a corner three to tie the game up at 33-33 early in the second. Both teams narrowly missed on some highlight plays, but it was Chicago once again turning turnovers into points that kept Los Angeles from getting over the hump.
Offensively, the Lakers started to find some rhythm as Westbrook continued to assault the rim, though Lonzo Ball was able to answer from the outside. Westbrook and Thomas came up with timely buckets in the closing minutes and L.A. only found themselves down 61-59 at halftime.
David Fizdale opted to go with a small-ball lineup to begin the second half, which helped their defense as they were able to fly around and force more Bulls mistakes. The energy level for L.A. picked up immensely as they hustled both ends of the floor, taking a 72-70 lead in the process.
James began to assert himself on the offensive end, draining a deep three off a pick-and-pop and then followed it up with a hard drive to the rim to keep the Lakers slightly ahead. It was a frenetic finish to the quarter with both sides trading baskets, but Los Angeles would take a 84-83 lead into the fourth.
Despite some consecutive and-ones from James and DeAndre Jordan, DeMar DeRozan answered on the other end to hand the lead back to Chicago. After giving up a 13-4 run to the Bulls, James found Anthony for a pair of threes to put the Lakers up 102-99.
It was a tight finish to the game as the Lakers and Bulls battled on both ends with neither side giving up an inch. Down three in the final seconds, Anthony and Wayne Ellington were unable to get good looks from distance to go down and L.A. would take home a brutal loss.
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