Even though the night ended with a predictable Lakers win, the preceding 47 minutes was nothing like longtime Bulls fans were used to — meaning that the Bulls played with effort, intensity, and like a well coached team.
The Bulls played competitive basketball for 48 minutes, sometimes running out to a 10 point lead, other times fighting back from 7 point deficits. All of this was against a Lakers team that didn’t play Anthony Davis or Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. But, keep in mind that the Chicago Bulls were without four players (Lauri Markkanen, Tomas Satoransky, Chandler Hutchison and Ryan Arcidiacono), and starting wing Otto Porter Jr. left with back spasms only 6 minutes into the game (per Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic).
With all of these losses, it would’ve been easy for the Bulls to let this game get away from them. Under Jim Boylen, that probably would’ve happened, but Billy Donovan has this team playing like a real, compelling, fun-to-watch basketball team.
Donovan can’t take all the credit, though. Three things stood out to me in this loss, so let me take you through them.