The Chicago Bulls saw their three-game win streak end on Saturday as the Los Angles Lakers handled business easily at the United Center. The last time the Bulls met the Lakers, they took them down to wire, but the Lakers — without Anthony Davis — still reeled in a 117-115 victory. This time around, Anthony Davis played, and the Bulls, well, didn’t have an answer for the big man.
The Bulls came into this game hot. They were riding a three-game win streak and ready to see how they compared to a true contending team in the Lakers. The Lakers, meanwhile, had not lost on the road as they came into Chicago. One team kept up their streak, and it was not the Bulls.
First Half Follies Leads to Full-Game Failure
The Bulls had an abysmal first half. Not only did they give up 63 points, but they only managed to produce 33. Woof. Anthony Davis absolutely had his way with the Bulls’ interior defense. You can make the excuse that the Bulls didn’t have Wendell Carter Jr. or Otto Porter Jr., but that definitely would not have changed much. Davis ended with 37 points on 14/21 shooting and didn’t even play in the fourth quarter.
The Bulls did fight back in the second half, but that was mostly because the Lakers went into cruise control. LeBron James only played 29 minutes and Davis played 28. You know things aren’t great when Cristiano Felício is the Bulls fifth-leading scorer (seven points).
Shots Fall Flat
As a team, the Bulls shot a horrendous 39% from the field, 32% from deep, and 73% from the free-throw line. It’s not like the Lakers shot exceptionally well, as they posted clips of 46% from the field and 21% from three. However, the Los Angeles shot 25/31 from the stripe.
Zach LaVine led the Bulls with 21 points in 36 minutes. He also shot 9/23 (39%) from the field and 1/6 (17%) from deep. Coby White shot 5/13 (38%) for his 14 points, and Lauri Markkanen shot 5/14 (36%) and 0/5 (0%, if you were curious) for his 12 points. The poor shooting led to the Bulls digging themselves a hole they couldn’t quite get out of.
LaVine’s Turnovers Are a Problem
We need to talk about Zach LaVine’s turnovers again, and I feel like a broken record. LaVine had seven turnovers tonight, which accounted for nearly 40% of the Bulls’ team turnovers. He’s averaging four giveaways per game, and that will continue to be a thorn in the side of this team if Coby White can’t develop further as a lead guard.
What’s On Tap Next?
The Bulls have a day off on Sunday to regroup before hosting the Boston Celtics on Monday at 8:00 CT. Boston is off to an 8-6 start to the year. Stay up to date on all things Chicago basketball by tuning in to the Bulls On Tap podcast.