There’s losing, and there’s getting beaten by a team that’s trying to lose as much as possible between now and the end of the season. The Chicago Bulls were beaten 123-118 in a double overtime game against the Los Angeles Lakers, as the Derrick Rose approach to basketball didn’t pay off this time.
Rose was coming off a game winning shot against the Golden State Warriors and taking 33 shots (missing 20 of them) to try and help his team. He went with the same approach against the Lakers, who are used to having a player hog the ball and try to do too much on his own. Rose hit only 7-0f-26 from the field (1-of-7 from beyond the arc) to finish with 17 points. He also turned the ball over five times, but it didn’t stop him from putting up more and more shots.
But while Rose has had inefficient shooting nights before, the Bulls’ problems on defense should be a bit more worrying. Giving up 123 points to a team that is on a nine game losing streak and is using Jordan Clarkson as their starting point guard and floor manager for most of the game is something to be concerned about although the constant changes in the lineup and the attempts to overcome the usual string of injuries to key players isn’t helping.
Jimmy Butler had a very good game with 35 points and 7 rebounds, finishing with 16-of-18 from the line, but his rally to the cause late in the game to force overtime just wasn’t enough. He actually wasn’t on the floor for the final minute of overtime as the Bulls were already down by five and in desperate mode. Losses happen, but the inconsistency from the Bulls especially after such an impressive display against the team with the best record in the league is worrying, and not for the first time this season.
As for the Lakers, they avoided a 10th consecutive loss, which would have matching the franchise record, which was “achieved” in the 1948-1949 season, meaning the Lakers are in a bad way, more than they’ve even been before, at least since arriving in Los Angeles. Not that losing bothers them too much. Kobe Bryant is out for the season, so is Steve Nash, first round draft pick Julius Randle and Xavier Henry. From the selection of players in the lineup and the minute distribution, losing seems to be a welcome phenomenon, as long as a slight show of progress is shown from time to time.
Pau Gasol has his return to Los Angeles. He’s a two-time NBA champion with the Lakers, joining them in 2008 via trade from the Grizzlies. No hard feeling from the crowd towards him, and not from him towards the organization, although he did say it’s nice to play for a team without any trade rumors hanging over his head. He’s had to contend with those since the 2011-2012 season on almost a weekly basis, which obviously didn’t help him bring his best. Mike D’Antoni being his head coach (and the two did not get along) was another contributing factor.
Jordan Hill with 26 points and 12 rebounds led the Lakers and Wayne Ellington continues to thrive with more minutes, scoring 23. Clarkson, the player enjoying more than anyone else this new tanking scheme, finished with 18 points, but it’s quite clear the Lakers have a much better point guard simply waiting to be acknowledged. Jeremy Lin played only 27 minutes, scoring 11 points with five assists. Byron Scott probably enjoyed their non 3-point approach, attempting only nine in the whole game.
Derrick Rose is confident and actually played 40 minutes two games in a row for the first time since January 2012. But he’s also 34% from the field with 59 field goal attempts in these two games, turning the ball over 16 times while dishing out just 7 assists in the process. With the Bulls struggling defensively with players coming in and out of the injury list, Derrick Rose needs to be a little bit more responsible with the ball in his hands.