For a game being played in November, tonight’s contest sure felt like a game in June. In perhaps their most complete effort of the season, the Lakers outlasted the Bulls in a gritty 98-91 victory. As this game got closer in the closing minutes you saw the difference between these two teams. Having played in enough high-intensity games over the last two years the Lake Show closed professionally while the Bulls balled but ran out of gas.
After seeing the way Chicago hooped tonight I’m beginning to wonder why the so-called experts were so quick to crown Miami in the East. The Bulls are a nice squad led by the NBA’s most unstoppable man off the dribble – Derrick Rose.
The Lakers couldn’t stop D-Rose who had a game-high 30 points and 8 dimes. Making matters worse was Joakim Noah locking down Pau Gasol.
The Spaniard struggled against the athletic and active Noah. Gasol continues to pace the league in double-doubles but his 12 and 11 were hard earned tonight. In fact, it was Noah’s 19 points, 13 boards with 4 dimes, 4 steals and 3 blocks that looked more Gasol than Gasol. Not saying he’s the next Gasol but the thought of Rose and Joakim does have a Kobe-Pau feel to it. Just sayin…
Proving their championship mettle, the Lake Show fought the Bulls off every time the road team made a push. On two separate occasions the Lakers had double digit leads in the second half and each time the Bulls came storming back.
Check the box score and you’ll see how small the margin of error is in the NBA.
Chicago dominated the boards especially on the offensive end. However, it was the composed Lakers who sank their free throws down there stretch where the Bulls faltered.
A balanced scoring attack from the Lake Show again displayed how versatile this team is. Shannon Brown and Lamar Odom led the Lakers in scoring. Shannon continues his bid for Most Improved Sixth Man of the Year as he smoked his hometown Bulls with 18 of his 21 coming in the first half. LO’s 21 and 8 came with ease as he mixed it up with jumpers, put backs and some of those patented finger rolls. Meanwhile KB24 had a quiet 20 on 18 shots.
This was far from an easy win and it’s scary to think how this Bulls team will look when they get Carols Boozer healthy. Overall, this might have been the best win so far this year. Phil Jackson finally got to see his team tested and he’s got to be happy that they passed it flying championship colors.