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Bulls fall to Lakers after forcing overtime

Bulls fall to 30-18 on the season

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By Sam Smith | 1.30.2015 | 12:37 p.m. CT

You knew for the Bulls the tough game on this trip would be the last place Lakers Thursday after defeating the first place Warriors. And it was the longest as well as the Bulls lost 123-116 to the Lakers in double overtime.

The game seemed certainly lost for the Bulls in regulation as they trailed 98-89 with 1:29 left. But defense and Jimmy Butler’s scoring tied the game. Then the Bulls looked like they had it won in the first overtime with a five-point lead. But the Lakers tied it and the Bulls could not get a winner from Derrick Rose. The Lakers dominated the second overtime.

The Bulls fell to 30-18 and 17-7 on the road while the Lakers went to 13-34.

The Bulls were led by Jimmy Butler with 35 points and 16 of 18 from the free throw line. Derrick Rose had 17 points on seven of 26 shooting as he had several layups roll off the rim while Pau Gasol had 20 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks and Joakim Noah had nine points, nine assists and 17 rebounds. The Lakers were led by Jordan Hill with 26 points, Wayne Ellington with 23 and Carlos Boozer with 16 points and eight rebounds.

The Bulls had another stumbling start which came after a nice welcome for former Lakers star Pau Gasol, who was honored with a video tribute and Gasol t-shirts distributed to fans. The Lakers shot 56.5 percent in the first quarter, taking a 12-point lead and ahead 28-19 after one. The Bulls got a little run going to start the second quarter with Taj Gibson strong inside against Boozer. The Lakers shot 61 percent in the second quarter for 58.7 at the half. All-Star Butler rallied the Bulls in the third quarter with his physical play attacking the basket and getting to the free throw line. Rose added a Hollywood approving curling layup from the left wing and the Bulls inched within 80-76 after three quarters as Aaron Brooks closed the third with a pair of three pointers. Butler had 14 points and eight of 10 free throws in the third quarter. The Bulls with Butler getting a steal and slam dunk pulled within 84-83 before the Lakers scored eight straight to regain control of the game, or so it seemed. The Bulls pulled off the most unlikely close in the last 90 seconds, a 9-0 run all behind Butler with a steal to tie the game with 11 seconds.

Observations:

1. Jimmy Butler after a slow start on the day he received his first All-Star invite showed his physical play and toughness at guard in taking Lakers’ defenders deep after a passive Bulls start and getting double digit free throw attempts for the first time in a month.

2. Perhaps with all the festivities on his first return to play against the Lakers with a pregame video tribute and events with his foundation, Pau Gasol was not quite himself to start though he still ended with a 20/10 game.

3. The usually reliable Bulls front line was being beaten to the ball a surprising number of times by the Lakers until Joakim Noah made it close late with his hustle.