The Bulls got a rude welcome in their road trip homecoming in a 96-90 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Bulls fell to 10-7 while the Lakers are 10-10.
The Bulls on a poor shooting night were led by Jimmy Butler with 22 points. Dwyane Wade had 17. Taj Gibson fouled out late in the fourth quarter with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Rajon Rondo had 14 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Robin Lopez had 10 points, nine rebounds and eight blocks. The Bulls shot 35.2 percent and four of 21 on threes. The Lakers had a 60-46 rebounding edge and a 56-16 edge in bench points.
After Butler tied the game at 90 with a three with 90 seconds left the Bulls failed to score again.
There was pregame uncertainty regarding Dwyane Wade, who had a dental issue. But it was the Lakers who started without their starting backcourt, D’Angelo Russell and Nick Young out with injuries. Plus, the Lakers were playing the second of a back to back as the Bulls came off four off days following their 4-2 road trip that included a win over the Lakers. So the Lakers started barely a Bull Jose Calderon with former Bull Luol Deng. The Bulls quickly took charge with a 16-9 start on the way to a 28-17 lead after one quarter, the Bulls forcing many of the Lakers’ eight turnovers. Butler had nine points and Lopez five rebounds. But the Bulls staggered again some going to the reserves to start the second quarter as the Lakers opened with a 9-3 run and coach Fred Hoiberg went back to starters Rondo and Taj Gibson more quickly to join Wade, who had 11 in the first half. But the Lakers were back into the game and it was actually Rondo with a pair of isolation jumpers that enabled the Bulls to remain in a 47-47 tie at halftime despite a late first quarter 14-point lead. The Bulls were, surprisingly, outrebounded 33-25 in the half and tied even with 14 Lakers’ turnovers leading to 19 Bulls points.
Both teams stumbled through the third quarter with the Bulls getting a boost from the shooting of Rondo with a pair of threes in the third quarter. The second one enabled the Bulls to take a 57-52 lead, but with the Bulls unable to make perimeter shots, the Lakers stayed close despite missing 14 of their first 18 shots of the quarter. The Bulls could not get any separation with a seven for 18 shooting third quarter and led 73-70 going into the fourth quarter, the Bulls getting 10 of their third quarter points on free throws to hang onto that narrow lead. Butler had 18 points through three, 12 on free throws. The Lakers reserves had a 37-11 lead through three. The reserves foundered again to start the fourth quarter as the Lakers took a 78-77 lead with 9:06 remaining. The Bulls stayed afloat with defense, a Rondo steal leading to an Isaiah Canaan three for an 85-82 lead and then Lopez with his eighth block to retain a one-point lead with just over four minutes remaining. With 2:44 left, the Lakers moved ahead 88-87. The Bulls made a rare three go down from Butler with 90 second left to tie the game at 90.