Lakers top Bulls in high-scoring affair
Gary Vasquez - USA Today Sports

Lakers top Bulls in high-scoring affair

by - Senior Writer -

LOS ANGELES - Going out West is never easy for anyone, but the Chicago Bulls (21-25) will do that a lot next month. Not only are they in the middle of a West Coast trip right now, but they have another set for March as the Bulls will venture out on two of their toughest trips this season.

After blowing a massive opportunity to take down the Phoenix Suns on Monday, the Bulls took the court Thursday against the Los Angeles Lakers (23-23). Although not the same Lakers team of old, Los Angeles still has two of the best players in the game, so you know there is potential for them to be great.

What started as an incredibly tough matchup with the Bulls holding a one-point lead after one-quarter of play, was the Lakers who came out swinging in the second as they put the game away in that quarter. After outscoring the Bulls 42-25 in the second and putting up 74 first-half points, the Lakers held a 16-point lead at the half and had Chicago searching for answers.

The Bulls did a good job battling back, especially in the fourth quarter, but this game was lost in that second quarter as the Lakers took down the Bulls 141-132. Any time you score 132 points, you are putting yourself in a great position to win games, and the Bulls did their job offensively. Demar DeRozan played a massive role in the Bulls offensive success, posting a double-double and dropping a game-high 32 points. He added 10 assists, which has become a big part of his game the past two seasons.

Along with DeRozan, five other Bulls landed in double figures as their balanced scoring attack continued to give teams fits. Coby White continued his stellar play with a 25-point night, as he has done more than enough to prove his worth on the court. Although his double-double stretch ended, Nikola Vucevic finished with 20 points and eight rebounds as he continues to play his best basketball of the season.

Alex Caruso rounded out the double-digit scorers in the starting lineup as he finished with 17 points for one of his better outings of the season. Getting that much production from your starting lineup is huge, but the Bulls also benefitted from having two great games off the bench, with Ayo Dosunmu adding 18 points and Andre Drummond picking up 11 points and nine boards.

Unfortunately, that wasn't enough for the Bulls, as the Lakers were slightly better offensively. D'Angelo Russell was the one with the hot hand for the Lakers as he led Los Angeles with 29 points and four assists. Like the Bulls, Russell had plenty of support as all five of the Los Angeles starters had double-figure showings. Lebron James had a relatively quiet 25 points, but with 12 assists, he did much more than score the basketball.

When healthy, Anthony Davis has repeatedly proven that he is one of the better centers in the league, and right now, he is healthy. With 22 points and 11 boards, Davis continued to have his way with the Bulls while also dishing out six assists. Having three 20-point scorers is one thing, but having four makes it difficult, as Austin Reaves came away with 20 points and eight assists.

Those four were the biggest reasons why the Lakers offense was able to put up the numbers they did, but Los Angeles was far from finished when you look at their overall production. Taurean Prince chipped in with 14 points to round out the starters, with Rui Hachimura adding 10 points off the bench, but the play from Jarred Vanderbilt proved crucial in the end.

Vanderbilt has had his ups and downs this season, but he has always been talked about as one player that could make a difference. With 17 points and five rebounds off the bench, he made a difference and gave the Lakers another weapon that the Bulls couldn't defend in this loss.

While the loss to this team is one thing, the Bulls and Lakers have been linked far more closely than this game. These teams were in discussions for a Zach Lavine trade most of the season, but now those talks have broken off. It does seem like Drummond could be on the Lakers mind as we approach the deadline so keep an eye on that as we push forward.

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