Having suffered a loss the night before in the same building, and with Dwyane Wade out for rest, the Bulls needed a huge night from Jimmy Butler and he delivered yet again in a 118-110 victory.
40 points in 40 minutes, on 14-23 shooting. With 6 assists and just a single turnover while playing much of the game at point guard. Butler lived inside in this game, only attempting a single three-pointer (that missed) and scoring on an array of drives to the basket plus a couple times off of his 4 offensive rebounds. He started the game drawing a very high frequency of foul calls and that continued throughout, as he finished 12-14 from the stripe. Still having an incredible All-NBA worthy season.
In another trend that’s continued throughout, the Bulls dominated the boards again, with an offensive rebound rate over 37%. They also shot over 51% from the field.
The Bulls defense was not very good, sending the Lakers to the stripe plenty as well and giving up way too many open three pointers. L.A. went 13-31 from deep, led by their leading scorer Lou Williams, who went 5-6 from distance to supply 25 points off the bench. Their second leading scorer was Larry Nance Jr., who had 18 on I believe all dunks.
The Bulls will struggle a bit against truly younger and more athletic teams like this, and were playing the second game in as many nights. But the Lakers were also prone to long bouts of ineptitude and the Bulls had Butler to take advantage.
The more unexpected hero for the Bulls was Isaiah Canaan, who played 30 minutes with 17 points. There wasn’t much else from the Bulls bench tonight (Denzel Valentine did hit a couple threes), and in the second quarter the team really suffered with Butler getting just a bit of rest. Thankfully though, things went a lot better to start the fourth quarter, as a similar lineup actually built the lead over double digits. Nikola Mirotic had one of his good nights, even starting out of place at the SF spot, with 15 points and 15 rebounds.
Things got a bit comically bad at the end as the Lakers went on a desperate run aided by the Bulls once again failing to get the ball inbounds after a time-out, but the closest the Lakers came was down 5 and with the ball. Nick Young chucked up a brick, which was emblematic of his night, as he was clearly in some kind of battle with Butler that was drastically one-sided in the Bulls’ favor.
The Bulls are now 3-1 in their 6-game road trip, with a date in Denver on Tuesday.