The Lakers got punched in the face by the New Orleans Pelicans last night. Not only that but they also lost Nick Young (for 2-4 weeks so it’s not as bad as we thought it was going to be). They already didn’t have D’Angelo Russell. But somehow, the Lakers pulled this one out against Chicago in a second game of a back-to-back, 96-90.
But this game was so ugly. I watch a lot of NBA games and this might be the ugliest one I’ve seen all season. In the first quarter, it felt like the Lakers were playing basketball underwater. They kept turning the ball over and this would go on all game. They were once down, 28-14. It looked like it was going to be a rout.
The Lakers bench came through as always, though, as Jordan Clarkson, Brandon Ingram, Lou Williams, and Larry Nance, Jr. made plays on both ends. While it was frustrating that the Lakers couldn’t get over the hump in the second quarter, the fight that they showed was admirable (once again) as they looked dead in the water a bit earlier.
Jose Calderon got it going early in the third and finally helped give the Lakers the lead. Even though the Bulls took an eight-point lead and with the Lakers being careless with turnovers, the energy of the bench, particularly from Clarkson and Lou, helped them get back into it. The game would go back and forth in the fourth quarter and it really was not pretty to watch. It seemed like scoring would only happen every five minutes in that stretch.
After Jimmy Butler tied the game with a 3, Julius Randle drove inside and executed a spin move to give the lead back to the Lakers with less than a minute to go. Lou split his free throws, giving the Bulls one last chance with 19.5 ticks left but Butler airballed a three-pointer. The Lakers made us nervous a few more times with a questionable inbounds pass and one more trip to the free throw line. Randle splitting his foul shots was enough to give the win to the Lakers.
All I know is that a win is a win, no matter how ugly. But what was impressive for the Lakers was their defense. Jimmy Butler did score 22 points but he only went 4 for 18. The Bulls only shot 35 percent overall. While the Lakers didn’t shoot well themselves (under 41 percent), they were aggressive in the paint. They outboarded the Bulls, 60-46 (the Bulls are second in rebounding). They got to the line 41 times (Bulls went 29). That was enough to make up for the Lakers’ 23 turnovers. 23. Ouch.
But hey, Randle went for 13 points and 20 boards. Clarkson and Lou went for 18 points each. And Nance had 12 and 11. Brandon Ingram missed 8 of his 9 shots but he played some excellent defense on Butler; he really affected the game without having to shoot too much. The Lakers only shot eight three-pointers (only made two) but when you’re missing two of your more prolific three-point shooters, that will happen. I like that the Lakers had enough gumption to forget about their loss against New Orleans and went into Chicago to steal a win.
Lastly, I wanna bring out what Darius tweeted earlier…
Bulls win in LA on the 2nd night of a back to back w/o Wade. Lakers win in CHI on the 2nd night of a back to back w/o Russell & Young. Okay.
— Darius Soriano (@forumbluegold) December 1, 2016
The gutsy Lakers are back to .500 with a 10-10 record. They’re going to play their third game in four nights on Friday as they go up to T Dot (am I cool for calling Toronto that?) and take on DeMar DeRozan and DeRaptors. I apologize for that awful wordplay.
In the meantime, enjoy this victory. But I recommend forgetting this game as soon as possible because that game was so gross. I nearly recapped this game with just chicken scratches and “LAKERS WIN.”