Lakers vs Bulls 20210108

LeBron James and Lakers Bench Bring the Business to the Bulls 

by Taylor Geas

It's been over a year since the Lake Show faced the guys from Chi-Town. This time it was on their court in Los Angeles, but for 47 minutes and 55 seconds, it was anyone’s game. Ultimately, the Lakers walked away with the same result as last year — a win... a 117-115 win.

Interestingly enough, the Lakers wore their Purple Statement uniforms tonight for the first time this season. The uniforms featured a new addition: the Jumpman; a fitting debut versus the Chicago Bulls.

Two things sealed the deal on tonight’s contest: the Lakers bench and the LeBron James (28 pts, 7 ast, 7 reb) fade away.

Let's continue...

The mid-range magic was in the air tonight and it was LBJ holding the wand. In his 18th year, the King is as cunning as ever. His footwork did the distracting as he would toss up an impossible shot, but sure enough, the ball would hit nothing but net more often than not. Leading scorer for the night, LeBron was 11 for 21 from the field in his 34 minutes.

Equally, the King’s colleagues went 51% from the field tonight amounting to five Lakers in double figures. There was some concern around the absence of Anthony Davis this evening, who was out with a right adductor strain. But the team’s second unit showed up and supplemented for the missing big fella.

Montrezl Harrell (17 pts, 14 reb) was the only Laker to rock a double-double for the night. Harrell’s strength is not how high he gets under the rim, but how he maneuvers his body and always manages to gain control of the ball. He is a disruptor that consistently plays with grit and effort. And among other things, Trez brings an energy to the court that his teammates can constantly feed off of.

On the topic of doing your part, Dennis Schröder (17 pts, 6 ast) and Wesley Matthews (14 pts) who notched his first start with the Lakers, let it roll and let ‘em fly this evening. Dennis and Bron improved the pick-n-roll, while Matthews went 4-for-8 from downtown.

Coach Frank Vogel called this game a “team win” postgame. He said, “We competed, we grinded, we just had a lot of guys contribute.” Markieff Morris (11 pts, 6 reb), Talen Horton-Tucker (9 pts), and Alex Caruso (9 pts) must be mentioned as they were members off the bench that brought that competitive edge and made the difference.

The Purple and Gold are 10 games in. While the team sits at 7-3, they’ve made it a priority to never lose back-to-back games. LeBron graded the team after the game, stating, “I think we’ve played B, B+ basketball and that is perfectly okay. We added five new pieces to our regular rotation and we’re still learning each other.”

Sunday brings their next trial as they face the Houston Rockets and their small-ball squad. Until then, take it easy Lakers fans.

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