Perhaps it was human nature for the Lakers to put their game into neutral starting in the third quarter and finish Saturday night in cruise control after building a 30-point halftime lead over the Chicago Bulls.
Perhaps boredom set into the Lakers in the second half after they held the Bulls to 33 points and 33.3% shooting in the first half.
“Yeah, we got to be better. That’s the simplest way to put it,” coach Frank Vogel said, then cited last week’s blown lead in a loss to Golden State.
“We talked about that at halftime. We came out and didn’t play the third quarter the way we were supposed to and approach that half, really the whole second half, the way we were supposed to. So, we’ll learn from it and hopefully get better next time. Hopefully we’re going to be up again by 20 or 30 at halftime at some point and we’ll draw back on this experience knowing that we didn’t do well enough here and we got to be better in the future.”
Here are five takeaways from the Lakers’ unsettling win over the Bulls:
1. The Lakers were outscored 57-38 in the second half in part because they turned the ball over 12 times. They shot just 35.1% from the field and missed all 10 of their three-pointers.
Meanwhile, the Lakers’ defense went to sleep, allowing the Bulls to shoot 46.3% in the half and 53.3% (eight for 15) from three-point range.
2. Though his family and friends were unable to attend the game because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Talen Horton-Tucker still enjoyed his time back home in Chicago, where he attended Simeon Career Academy High. He first played in the United Center as an 8-year-old on a youth team.
Highlights from the Lakers’ 101-90 road victory over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night.
After not playing in the previous two games, Horton-Tucker was back in the rotation, playing 21 minutes and 12 seconds. He had 10 points and two rebounds.
“I just want to come out and give the same energy that I give every game that I get in,” he said.
3. When the fourth quarter started with the Lakers’ 33-point lead down to 17, Vogel left LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the bench.
For the rest of the game, as it turned out.
Vogel went to his bench and let Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Kuzma, Alex Caruso, Wesley Matthews and Horton-Tucker close out the game. Harrell did his part with 10 points and five rebounds.
4. One of the unsettling things for the Lakers was their inability to take care of the basketball. They turned the ball over 19 times, six by James.
5. The Lakers entered the game ranked third in the NBA in three-point shooting, making 40% of them. They then played as if they were one of the worst three-point shooting teams, making just 21.1%.
Only Davis (two for three), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (one for three) and Caruso (one for two) made any of their attempts.