Bulls 56, Lakers 49 — HALFTIME
LOS ANGELES — The Chicago Bulls finally have started their 2011-12 quest for a seventh NBA title and they do it in Los Angeles against the Lakers and all their history. But in the here and the now these two teams look elite. The Lakers look like — well the Lakers. But the Bulls look like an elite defense with a mediocre offense.
They started out sluggish on offense with Derrick Rose attempting one shot all first quarter and he missed it. That’s right the reigning MVP scored zero points in the first quarter and what hurt him was fouls. Not his own but the four committed between Richard Hamilton and Joakim Noah.
Chicago found themselves down 18-10 before Ronnie Brewer hit a jumper and then another plus a foul to draw the Bulls closer. They then were able to over power the Lakers bench with their own, the Bench Mob, to take the lead.
Rose eventually got his first bucket after checking back into the game with 7:08 to go. Soon after he made a play down low to register his first points of 2011. He followed that up with an incredibly athletic play in the paint under the bucket to get the Bulls a three point lead.
As the second half wore on the Bulls started to keep a distance with the Lakers, albeit a not too distant one. Derrick Rose started to talk off and the offense started to open up. With that happening the Bulls can mesh their defensive prowess with their opening offense to keep the Lakers at bay. Luol Deng is beginning to light up the perimeter and even Boozer is making plays down low.
The Bulls have limited turnovers and that is a key stat to consider when thinking about the Bulls beating the Lakers here on Christmas Day. The Bulls need to continue this trend to keep the Lakers contained.