(Photo By: Ty Nowell/Lakers.com)
Lakers at Bulls: 3 Things to Know (1/26/18)
Here is what you need to know before the Lakers don their black City uniforms against the Chicago Bulls.
1) Kuz Control is in effect
Last time we saw Kyle Kuzma, he was busy putting together the hottest quarter of any Laker this season.
Capping off a 28-point night, the rookie caught fire for 17 points in the final frame of Tuesday’s win over Boston. Kuzma went toe-to-toe with Kyrie Irving, who had a dozen in the fourth for the rival Celtics.
Kuzma got his buckets in just about every way, knocking down five 3-pointers, spinning into three scores (see below) and coming up clutch with a put-back layup in the waning minutes.
Plus, he even broke out a couple of absurd behind-the-back assists, sending the STAPLES Center crowd into pandemonium.
2) Lakers are heavy with Rising Stars
The rosters for the annual Rising Stars Challenge were announced on Thursday, and the Lakers will have three young talents representing on their home court.
Kuzma, Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram will all take the floor at STAPLES Center on Feb. 16, giving the Lakers the most Rising Stars representatives, along with Philadelphia, who has Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Dario Saric.
It’s been quite the debut season for Kuzma, who ranks second among rookies in scoring (16.7).
Meanwhile, Ingram has taken a big jump across the board in his sophomore season, while Ball is top 10 in assists among all players (7.1) and third in rebounds for guards (7.1).
So which Laker has the best chance of winning MVP in front of his home crowd? Former Rising Star Jordan Clarkson has his pick.
Crazy! All star weekend you dream of this as a kid and it’s here!! 27th pick wasn’t suppose to be here though https://t.co/bhnOzxpikE— kuz (@kylekuzma) January 24, 2018
i got my dawg @kylekuzma winning mvp of rising star whats up??— Jordan Clarkson (@JordanClarksons) January 25, 2018
3) Chicago can’t be underestimated
The Lakers faced the Bulls back in November and were stunned at halftime, trailing by 14 to a team that had started the year just 3-12.
L.A. rallied to win behind Kuzma (22 points) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (21), but must take Chicago more seriously in this game.
The Bulls have played well of late, winning 15 of their last 25 and running at a faster pace.
They have an interesting dynamic, led by two of the best 3-point shooting bigs in the game: Lauri Markkanen and Nikola Mirotic.
Plus, it’s always fun to see the twin vs. twin battle between L.A.’s Brook Lopez and (just barely) younger brother Robin, who has a wicked hook shot and is a nice pick-and-roll option down the middle.
Lakers: Lonzo Ball (sore left knee) is out..
Bulls: Kris Dunn (concussion protocol) and Cameron Payne (right foot) are out.
Tip-Off: 5 p.m. PT
TV: Spectrum SportsNet and Spectrum Deportes
Radio: 710 ESPN and 1330 KWKW
Unis: Black City
Location: United Center — Chicago, Illinois