Three things to take away from Lakers' loss to the Bulls
Yes, Lakerholics, I'm cutting back the postgame analysis from five things to three because of workload issues. But this will at least be a jumping off point for you. . .
1. An inability to shut down three-point shooters was the big difference
It's hard to believe, but every major statistical category was nearly even between the Lakers and Bulls on Friday night except three-point shooting. The Bulls made eight of 17 long-range shots while the Lakers only sank three of 13 three-point attempts. No surprise that Chicago reserve Kyle Korver nailed three of six from distance, but when Derrick Rose (three of five) and Luol Deng (two of three) combine for 15 long-range points, you have a problem.
The Lakers barely lost the rebound battle, 42-40, but forced 21 turnovers while committing 19, leading to a 20-15 advantage in points off turnovers. They also had 10 blocked shots while only having two rejected. Their overall shooting percentage was better as well (43.6% to 41.3%). It doesn't help that Kobe Bryant only made nine of 23 shots in finishing with 23 points, but an inability to close out on three-point shooters was the big difference for the Lakers.
Starting center Andrew Bynum can't return to the lineup soon enough. Gasol put in 45 minutes of work. Way too much, even for an elite big man in the prime of his career.
With reserve big man Derrick Caracter gimpy and seeing less than three minutes of action Friday night, Gasol was forced to wage war along with Lamar Odom against Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer, Taj Gibson and Omar Asik. That's too much to ask of Gasol and Odom for virtually an entire game.
3. The Lakers fell flat in the middle two quarters
It's hard to fathom that the Lakers held the Bulls to 12 first-quarter points, then went out and were outscored 24-10 and 30-26 in the second and third quarters, respectively.
Only Matt Barnes (five-of-seven shooting for 10 points, seven rebounds and two steals) was effective off the bench. Shannon Brown missed all four of his shots and Steve Blake was one of three, making his only three-pointer. Blake, and Brown to a lesser degree, couldn't provide much defense against Rose, either.
Photos: (Top) Bulls point guard Derrick Rose drives past Lakers guard Shannon Brown down the lane in the fourth quarter Friday night. Credit: Nam Y. Huh / Associated Press. (Bottom) Lakers guard Kobe Bryant talks with center Pau Gasol about defensive assignments during a break in the action against Chicago on Friday night. Credit: Tannen Maury / EPA.