Game 45: Chicago Bulls (26-19) defeat Los Angeles Lakers (9-39), 114-91
January 28, 2016
Staples Center – Los Angeles
Despite what has been an inconsistent season for the Bulls so far, for once, the Bulls didn’t play to their level of competition. Rather, they took a decisive win over the Lakers to kick off their seven-game road trip.
Pau Gasol got off to a hot start with six points against his former team. Two of those six even came on a post-up against Kobe Bryant. Derrick Rose also started well, going 5-for-5 from the field before finally missing — he attempted a 3-pointer.
The Bulls never trailed in the contest and started each half on a strong note, scoring 30-plus points in the first and third quarters.
Basically, the Bulls did just what was expected of them against a Lakers team that has yet to win 10 games: They defended well and took advantage of the Lakers’ youth and lack of experience throughout the game. Most importantly, the Bulls didn’t allow their opponents to get back into the game or really ever give them hope that they could.
Player of the Game
In his return to his former home, Gasol put up a near triple-double of 21 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists in 31 minutes of playing time. He also added a steal and a block and helped his team get out to a good start.
It isn’t too difficult of a task when the Lakers are the opposing team, but the Bulls shooting 50.0 percent on 47-of-94 from the field is always a good thing.
The Bulls won the battle of the boards, outrebounding the Lakers 51-40. No Laker rebounded in double figures, but two Bulls, Gasol and Taj Gibson, grabbed 12 and 11 boards, respectively.
The Bulls already had an advantage coming into Thursday night’s game just when considering each team’s rosters, but they annihilated the Lakers in the paint, outscoring them by 40 points.
Matchup of the Game Result
Jimmy Butler versus Kobe Bryant
Butler is a swingman — primarily a shooting guard — whose career is currently blossoming, so it only seemed right to choose his matchup with Bryant as the featured one for Thursday’s game. It wasn’t as eventful as one would hope, though.
Butler, as usual, led not only the Bulls, but also all players with 26 points on 11-for-17 from the field to go along with his five rebounds, 10 assists and four steals — his assists and steals were also a game high for each respective category. Bryant, however, wasn’t able to muster up another throwback performance, posting 10 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals.
The Bulls will be back in the Staples Center on Sunday to face the Los Angeles Clippers at 2:30 p.m. central.
Ashley is the owner/editor of The Bulls Charge. Follow her on Twitter at @wijangco12.