Lakers put on a late show to stun Bulls
LOS ANGELES—Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Kyle Kuzma led the way as the Los Angeles Lakers staged a late rally to down the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday.
In the only NBA game of the day as the United States prepares for Thursday’s Thanksgiving holiday, the Lakers fought back to win 103-94 at the Staples Center.
The win saw the Lakers improve to 8-10, lifting them into the playoff places in the Western Conference.
The defeat was another setback for Chicago, however, who are languishing near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings at 3-12.
The Lakers, who are in a rebuilding phase after missing the playoffs for the past four seasons, trailed 89-83 with just over six minutes left.
But a late scoring burst helped them haul in Chicago to seal the win.
Kuzma led the scoring with 22 points while Caldwell-Pope was just behind with 21.
Brandon Ingram added 17 points while both Julius Randle (10 points) and Jordan Clarkson (12) also had double figures.
Rookie star Lonzo Ball had another wayward scoring night, finishing with just eight points. But he managed to pull down 13 rebounds and provided four assists.
Caldwell-Pope’s points total included 11 in the final minutes as Los Angeles completed a comeback in a game which had seen them trail by as many as 19 points at one stage.
Denzel Valentine led Chicago’s points with 17 while Antonio Blakeney was the next highest with 15. Four other Chicago players posted double-digit scores.
Meanwhile, Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant insists he is unfazed by the prospect of facing his former team as the NBA champions prepare to take on Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday.
Durant, who is battling to recover from a left ankle sprain, left Oklahoma City for Golden State after eight seasons in 2016.
In his return to Oklahoma City last season, Durant put up 40 points, and blocked out the hostile reception which greeted him.
More of the same is expected on Wednesday, but Durant said he is unconcerned by the catcalls.
“It’s just a regular game for me now,” the reigning NBA Finals MVP said Tuesday. “I learned how to tune out the crowd.”
The 29-year-old said a decision on whether he will play on Wednesday will most likely be taken on the day of the game.
“We’ll see how it feels in the morning but right now, it feels good,” said Durant, who sat out Golden State’s 118-111 victory at Brooklyn on Sunday.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr meanwhile said Durant would be ready for anything in terms of crowd reception.
“We’re a year removed from the first one so hopefully it will be a little less hostile,” Kerr said. “But we’ll be ready for whatever.”
The Warriors coach compared Durant’s return to Oklahoma City to the reception given to LeBron James when he first played back in Cleveland after joining Miami in 2010.
“It reminded me of LeBron’s return to Cleveland,” Kerr said. “It was very similar, just a different vibe. Sometimes you can have intensity and desire, and sometimes it can be ugly. And it was ugly.”