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Lakers vs. Bulls Preview: A chance to bounce back at home

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The Lakers have been mediocre so far at home this season. Their game against the Bulls on the second night of a back-to-back is their next opportunity to start to change that.

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San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The bad news? The Lakers lost to the San Antonio Spurs last night in a game where they never seemed to put forth full effort. The defeat dropped them to 6-3, and third in the Western Conference.

The good news? Anthony Davis was pissed about it, calling the team’s defense “shit” after kicking over a drink cart in frustration with the team’s effort. The better news? Davis’ hometown Chicago Bulls — who are 4-5 overall, and 10th in the Eastern Conference Standings — are coming to Los Angeles for the second night of the Lakers’ back-to-back, offering an overmatched and personal target for Davis to take out his anger on as the Lakers look to continue their goal of not losing two games in a row this season. Plus, the Bulls’ 18th-ranked offense should offer the Lakers a softer challenge than the Spurs (12th) as they look to get their defense in order.

Regardless of how it turns out, however, this game will offer a reminder that the Lakers aren’t the only team that is going to have to deal with absences this season as a result of the NBA’s coronavirus health and safety protocols. The Bulls are missing four players — Lauri Markkanen, Tomas Satoransky, Chandler Hutchison and Ryan Arcidiacono — to the protocols for this game.

First of all, hopefully all those players are all right, because that’s what’s most important here. But shifting to the basketball implications of this, the Lakers had to deal with a similar situation last week while missing Alex Caruso under those same protocols — and every team will as the league resumes amidst a still-raging pandemic — and all they can do is play the opponents left in front of them.

Will a shorthanded foe after a loss that clearly pissed them off be enough to help the Lakers get right? We’ll see when they tip against the Bulls at 7:00 p.m. PT tonight. The game will be televised on Spectrum SportsNet.

Notes and Updates

  • Speaking of Caruso, he confirmed on Thursday night that he did not test positive for the coronavirus. He was held out as a precaution due to contact tracing.
  • Elsewhere on the injury report, the Lakers were missing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope again last night. Caldwell-Pope was a game-time decision, but the team opted to sit him after having him test his ankle out pregame. It was the third game in a row Caldwell-Pope has missed with the sprain, but he was close to giving it a go last night, so we’ll see if he gets over the hump and back out on the court against the Bulls. The Lakers could certainly use his activity back as they look to fix up their defense.
  • In lighter news, Marc Gasol revealed maybe the most literal interpretation of the old adage that players should look themselves in the mirror after a loss that I’ve ever heard. You have to check this out.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.