Bulls fall to Lakers, 108-103

The Bulls rallied from a double digit fourth quarter deficit to take a lead before turnovers and missed free throws down the stretch enabled the Lakers to defeat the Bulls 108-103.

With an energetic game from the reserves led by Bobby Portis off the bench with 16 points, the Bulls rallied from 13 points behind with 10 minutes left to lead 97-96 on a pair of Nikola Mirotic free throws with 2:46 left. But it was the Lakers with the crucial late plays after a Lauri Markkanen turnover and a pair of missed free throws by Zach LaVine. Mirotic and Markkanen made late three pointers.

The Bulls fell to 18-31; the Lakers are 19-29.

Mirotic led the Bulls with 18 points. Portis and Denzel Valentine had 16 each, Markkanen had 11 points and 11 rebounds and LaVine had 10 points on three of 17 shooting. Valentine also had 11 rebounds in an al around active game with he and Markkanen also taking time playing facilitator. Brandon Ingram led the Lakers with 25. The Bulls had 14 turnovers which led to 20 points for the Lakers. The Bulls were 17 of 36 on threes while the Lakers were five of 24.

The Bulls host the Bucks 2:30 p.m. Sunday before going on a three-game Western Conference trip.

Kris Dunn for the Bulls remained out with concussion symptoms. Lonzo Ball was out with a knee problem. But the Lakers weren’t missing him to start as after a bit of twins Robin Lopez and Brook Lopez going back at one another in an 18-13 Lakers lead, the Lakers ran off 11 straight points for a 30-15 lead. The Lakers repeatedly got second chances, eight second chance points in the quarter and seven fast break points. The Bulls recovered behind the reserves with Portis and Valentine to trail 32-25 after the first, Valentine with seven points. That bench group, not playing as casual as the starters, kept at it, though trailed 47-39 midway through the second quarter. The starters then returned with interest. Markkanen made back to back threes and David Nwaba took a Justin Holiday steal all the way for a dunk and suddenly the Bulls were within 57-55 with 2:19 left in the first half. The Lakers went on to lead 62-57 at halftime despite 14 points from Portis in yet another effervescent effort.

The Bulls defensive effort slowed the Lakers to open the second half with LaVine making shots to start. He went dry again after making a few, but the Bulls held within 70-68 midway through the third quarter. Then it was a fatal stretch of four turnovers in five possessions, enabling the Lakers to play their running game, nine straight points to take an 11-point lead before a pair of Mirotic free throws staunched the flow. But the Bulls repeatedly could not get back with the Lakers sprinting out and trailed 84-72 going into the fourth quarter. The Lakers opened with a rush in looking like they might run away with an 89-76 lead. But Mirotic rattled in a pair of long threes to send the Lakers into a timeout two minutes into the fourth quarter leading 89-82. The Bulls with Valentine’s hustle plays and Mirotic with a second fake-and-fly-by three enabled the Bulls to finally tale a lead at 95-92 with four minutes left. But with a pair of missed Bulls threes, the Lakers got back in transition for a 96-95 lead with 2:59 remaining in the game.