Talen Horton-Tucker shoots the ball
Adam Pantozzi/NBAE

Lakers Bullied by Bulls

by Taylor Geas

The Lake Show started small tonight with the same starting five that proved successful yesterday against the Spurs. Unfortunately, the game didn’t fare the same as the Purple and Gold fell to Chicago 121-103.

There was little urgency from the guys, Los Angeles couldn’t get their lead above three points, and overall, LA looked tired. It’s the team’s fifth game in seven days and the vets have been playing big minutes. Specifically, the Lakers deficiency from three (18%) was likely because of their lethargy.

In his second game back, post thumb surgery, Talen Horton-Tucker (28 pts, 6 reb) was the offensive charge against his hometown team. There was no lack of oomph at his attempt to keep his team in it.

Right behind him, Russell Westbrook (25 pts, 8 ast, 6 reb) eagerly worked to break into Chicago’s paint. There were streaks of success here and there but not enough to keep the Lakers in the game.

Chicago native, Anthony Davis (20 pts, 6 reb) was covered particularly tight tonight. There were two to three Bulls on him at almost all times. He tried to escape coverage in the paint but had better luck from the mid-range. With about two minutes remaining in the third quarter, Davis had words with the official while putting on his shoe and he was ejected after receiving his second technical.

The Lakers had trouble closing down Chicago’s shooters. The Bulls came into tonight’s game last in the league in triples. Typically, they average 9.9 a game. Tonight, they shot 44% from three. Compton-raised Demar DeRozan (38 pts, 6 ast), Anaheim-born Lonzo Ball (27 pts, 8 ast, 7 reb), and UCLA alum Zach LaVine (26 pts, 5 ast, 5 reb) led the way from both the arc and the floor.

Alex Caruso returned to the Lakers floor, headband and all, for the first time since he joined the Chicago Bulls. AC said he was going to be “giddy” playing at STAPLES Center with his former Lakers crowd. He’s still making the little things as impactful as ever going +28 in his 34 minutes.

The AC Fresh effect was still in the air tonight even though he was a member of the opposition. From fans to teammates, to Coach Frank Vogel, everyone was happy to see Caruso. Coach Vogel said of his former player before the game began, “...He's one of my favorite guys that I've ever coached. I'm always going to be rooting for him when he's not playing versus us."

As the Lakers await LeBron’s return, the team is leaving Los Angeles and traveling East for their second-longest road trip of the season. They will face Milwaukee Wednesday for their first game of five.

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