What a goofy, exhibition-esque game at the United Center Sunday. The ESPN telecast (which was brutal) compared it to an All-Star game at one point, with the total lack of defense and oohing/ahhing at whatever junk Kobe Bryant threw up there. For much of the contest it was just a couple bad teams doing whatever they wanted offensively, but thankfully the end of the 3rd quarter saw the Bulls open up a 16 point lead to help put the Lakers where they want: in the loss column and Bryant getting cheered.
The Bulls went a ridiculous 13-19 from three point range, and that sure goes a long way in making any offense look good. It was spread out for nearly every Bull as the Lakers horrendous defense acquiesced the long-distance looks, including Bobby Portis going 3-3 in the first half.
Like I assume most observers, I was cringing seeing that Brooks/Snell/McDermott/Portis/Felicio lineup to start the second quarter, but they made a great run behind Portis and McDermott (who followed up Friday with another great game offensively going 6-9 for 16 points).
The third quarter began with Bryant posting up Mike Dunleavy and hitting 4 straight shots (Dunleavy had a fine game too while Bryant rested on D), so I guess hooray for the Kobe dorks in attendance. I mean, having unending faith in a player who's clearly past his prime, that's usually our role with Derrick Rose! I'm just having fun out here folks, and had to watch this Bulls-Lakers game. Derrick was pretty good, and the story there is that it's not much of a story anymore. The Lakers guards certainly helped him get where he wanted, but Rose wasn't settling and though showed a shaky handle at times was racking up points and jump-passes at the rim all game.
Somehow (honestly, I literally couldn't tell you) after seeing the Bulls lead by as much as 19, this turned into a 3-point game with five minutes to go, as the Lakers resisted putting Kobe back in the game which probably only helped their efforts. Both D'Angelo Russell and especially Julius Randle had big games for the Lakers. E'Twaun Moore had a couple huge plays (and was hitting pretty much every shot he took on his way to tie Rose with 24 to lead the team) to keep the lead from getting any smaller, and then Bryant came back in to 'close the show' for the final 3 minutes, which I guess meant making sure the Lakers lost but everyone having a good time watching. Rose filled the role instead with 10 fourth-quarter points and a couple assists as the Bulls were never really threatened late.
Chicago's now won 2 in a row, still looking bad on defense but shooting very well. That said, they are going to look bad for a while until Butler and Mirotic return. Making the playoffs is apparently of paramount importance to management (except when dealing the backup PG to save a couple million, I guess? Brooks+Snell were the only Bulls were weren't enjoying what the Lakers were giving) and getting any wins in what should be the worst stretch of the season will be banked for when the Bulls are healthier and somewhat better again.