With speculation and rumors about temperature of the seat Luke Walton sits on swirling at the kind of pace the Los Angeles Lakers need to play at to win, the team didn’t exactly come out with a ton of fire to start against the Chicago Bulls. They just kind of trudged through the first half and took care of business in the second. Still, a win is a win, as ugly as they might be.
God bless these mutinous Bulls.
If you were to find one reason why the Lakers were able to come out on top with a final score of 107-100 beyond Chicago being one of the saddest teams the NBA has ever seen, you wouldn’t have to look much further than Lonzo Ball. His stat line (19 points, 6 assists, 8 rebounds and 3 made threes) was obviously impressive, but there was a noticeable difference in how the Lakers looked with him on the court versus when he sat.
Walton shook things up in the starting lineup Tuesday night, going with Tyson Chandler in JaVale McGee’s spot and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in Josh Hart’s. The Lakers didn’t exactly light the world on fire from the jump, but all the starters boasted a positive plus/minus.
At one point in the fourth quarter, the Lakers held an 18-point lead. But, because they simply cannot make anything easy on themselves (or me on recap nights), they let Chicago back into it, watching that lead dwindle all the way down to five. Caldwell-Pope was able to sink his free-throws, however, and they did just enough to come out with a win.
All in all, the game had a really weird vibe to it. Even when the Lakers went on runs, it crowd never quite got into the game. Maybe this had something to do with everything leading up to the game, but whatever the reason was, it’s pretty apparent they’re ready for the return of LeBron James. We’ll get more on that tomorrow, by the way.
The Lakers next take on the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday, as they embark on a tough stretch of their schedule. For now, they’ll enjoy this sigh of relief and await the conclusion of James’ reevaluation.