DeMar DeRozan scored 19 of his game-high 38 points in the fourth quarter and Nikola Vucevic registered a double-double of 19 points and 13 rebounds to boost the host Chicago Bulls to a 115-110 win against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.
Missing several players in COVID-19 protocols, the Bulls prevailed in their first action since a loss at Miami on Dec. 11. The team had two postponements during the past week.
Lonzo Ball added 19 points for the Bulls, while Alex Caruso had 17 points and nine rebounds.
LeBron James kept the Lakers afloat with 31 points and 14 rebounds. Russell Westbrook narrowly missed a triple-double, collecting 20 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, while Carmelo Anthony (21 points) and Isaiah Thomas (13) also finished in double figures.
Los Angeles played its first game without Anthony Davis, who is slated to miss four weeks after suffering a sprained MCL in his left knee during Friday’s loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Chicago grabbed a 109-108 lead on a pair of DeRozan free throws with 2:10 to play. A Lakers turnover on the ensuing possession gave the Bulls the opportunity to stretch the advantage, but DeRozan missed a jumper, leading to a go-ahead shot from Westbrook with 1:22 left.
DeRozan regrouped and continued his fourth-quarter takeover, scoring the next four points as the Bulls went up 113-110 with 15.6 seconds to go. Anthony and Wayne Ellington missed potential game-tying treys for the Lakers before Ball closed out the game with two free throws.
Both teams were heavily impacted by player absences due to the league’s health and safety protocols. The outbreak extended to the bench, as well, as Lakers coach Frank Vogel entered COVID-19 protocols Sunday morning.
David Fizdale, who coached the Memphis Grizzlies and New York Knicks for parts of four seasons, served as interim coach for the Lakers.
The Bulls swept the season series after registering an 18-point victory in Los Angeles on Nov. 15 behind DeRozan’s 38 points.
–Field Level Media