THT high 5's his teammates

Three Things to Know: Lakers vs. Bulls - 11/15/21

by Matthew Barrero

Following a Sunday afternoon 114-106 victory over San Antonio, the Lakers (8-6) will face off against the Chicago Bulls (9-4). The Bulls are coming off a 100-90 win over the Clippers last night. Both teams are in the second of back-to-back games. Coverage begins with the pregame show at 6:30 p.m. PT followed by tipoff at 7:30 p.m. PT and you can catch all the action on Spectrum SportsNet.

Here are three things to know heading into tonight’s contest:

From the “Carushow” to “Zo”, the Lakers will welcome Alex Caruso and Lonzo Ball back to STAPLES Center tonight. Ball returned three times during his time with New Orleans and played twice in front of fans (the other occurred during the Covid-19 shortened season where fans were not allowed to attend).

Caruso will be making his first return to the place he called home for four seasons prior to signing with the Bulls. During his time in Los Angeles, Caruso averaged close to six points, three assists and three rebounds in 184 games played.

While the numbers may not pop, it was Caruso’s playmaking abilities that shined the most to Lakers Nation. His former teammate Anthony Davis is looking forward to the matchup knowing the type of player “AC-Fresh” is.

“It’s going to be fun playing against [Caruso] again,” Davis said to Mike Trudell. “All the stuff he brought to (our championship team). He was a big part of what we did here.”

For Lonzo, it will be his fourth game against the team that drafted him 2nd overall in the 2017 NBA draft. In the three games prior, Ball has averaged 17.3 points, 7.3 assists and 6.3 rebounds.

Another homecoming will be that of DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine. LaVine played one season at UCLA before forgoing his remaining three years to enter the NBA draft in 2014.

DeRozan was born in Compton and played ball at Compton High School and one season at USC.

Following successful thumb surgery to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb, Talen Horton-Tucker made his season debut Sunday afternoon and looked as though he had not missed a beat.

Not only did THT return to the lineup, but coach Frank Vogel inserted him into the starting lineup as a way to ‘shift a few things.’

In 27 minutes, Horton-Tucker scored 17 points on 50 percent shooting to go along with four rebounds and a game-high +14. THT found most of his success driving the net. Toward the end of game, he took a feed from Wayne Ellington at the wing and drove toward the basket, made an impressive move in mid-air and finished on a fancy finger roll that brought the STAPLES Center crowd to its feet.

In his postgame interview, THT felt that he ‘could have played a little bit better but had good moments.’

“Being able to play here at STAPLES, it’s a real feeling,” Horton-Tucker said. “Just being able to be with my teammates again. I always tell everybody, like just with the group we have, actually being able to get out there and play with them is a blessing for me, so I’m just appreciative of it.”

The Lakers will travel east for their first and second-longest road trip of the season. The five-game tour begins in Milwaukee, Wednesday night and will feature visits to Boston, Detroit, New York and ending in Indiana.

One significant update is that of LeBron James who is now listed as day-to-day according to Vogel. James was seen on the court before Sunday’s game doing on-court basketball drills and increased physical activity.

“He looks good, he’s moving,” Vogel said. “He hasn’t done a full practice or contact yet but he’s looking good, moving around in his individual work.”

Both Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook have started to play at a consistent rhythm to go along with the scoring off the Laker bench, including that of Malik Monk and Wayne Ellington. A win over the Bulls tonight, would have the Lakers at 9-6 and having won four of their last five games.

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