The Lakers entered Sunday afternoon riding a wave of positivity, having three in a row and 7 of their last 10 to vault into 8th in the Western Conference. A win over the Bulls at home would pull them within a game of the Clippers and Warriors who are tied for 6th, and after nearly a month rehabbing a foot injury, LeBron James was making his return to the L.A. lineup — coming off of the bench for just the second time in his NBA career.
However, the Bulls relished the opportunity to play spoiler, as Zach LaVine scored 32 points and DeMar DeRozan had 17 points and 10 assists to lead Chicago to a 118-108 win. The Lakers had six players score over 13 points in the game, including James with 19 off the bench, but they were not able to slow down the Bulls’ offense enough, as Chicago shot 54 percent from the field and 45 percent from three on the afternoon. It was not a good loss for a Laker team that’s about to embark on a five-game road trip, starting in Chicago against these same Bulls and finishing with a crosstown matchup with the Clippers, and adding insult to injury was Patrick Beverley, who relished the opportunity to rub some salt in the wound facing the team that released him earlier this year.
Beverley drove on James in the pick-and-roll, hitting him with a little stop and spin in the lane for a push shot that put Chicago back up by 10 with just over a minute to play, effectively icing the game. Naturally, Beverley let James know about it by hitting him with the “too small” gesture, delighting in every moment.
There aren’t many players that enjoy these kinds of moments more than Beverley, particularly when it’s time to go up against a former team that discarded him. Getting to put a dent in the Lakers’ hopes of making a leap all the way to playoff contention surely brought an extra bit of joy to Patrick in the win. He also held onto the taunt long enough to ensure LeBron saw, and James and the Lakers will have an immediate chance to exact a bit of revenge in what is now an extremely important road game for them on Wednesday night in Chicago.