The Lakers followed up on their impressive victory over the Detroit Pistons on Friday with a 106-78 blowout of the Chicago Bulls on Sunday night. The Lakers went into halftime down 46-45 before the second unit sparked the team in the latter half of the third quarter, outscoring the Bulls 61-32 in the second 24 minutes. The Lakers came out particularly sluggish in the first half, failing to establish any consistent rhythm on offense. In his post-game comments, Jackson said, “I’m surprised that the crowd was still there when we came out in the second half.”
The Lakers bench scored 73 points, the most points Lakers reserves have scored since April 24, 1988. In all, five bench players scored in double figures, the first time that has happened since March 9, 1985.
Jordan Farmar led the way again for the Lakers, scoring 14 points and divvying out a career high eight assists in 25 minutes of play. Jackson singled Jordan as one of the key beneficiaries of the new up-tempo offense he implemented before the season. Andrew Bynum also excelled off the bench, contributing 14 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Chris Mihm played his best game of the season finishing with 11 points and seven rebounds. The Lakers needed Bynum and Mihm to step up as center Kwame Brown left the game in the first half with a mild to moderately sprained knee after a Bulls player fell on him in the first quarter.
No word yet on how long Kwame will be out, but it looks like it will definitely be for more than a few games based on the fact that he could not put any pressure on the knee before being assisted to the locker room. Jackson said after the game it will likely be 24 to 48 hours before the team can make a more accurate assessment as to how many games the center will miss. “I haven’t seen it on tape, but I know it wasn’t a pretty sight,” said Jackson. Jackson said he has not decided whether or not Chris Mihm or Andrew Bynum will start in Kwame’s absence.
Kobe Bryant had another relatively quiet night for the Lakers with 18 points and 5 rebounds, but he did manage to outscore the Bulls 10-2 when he was in the game in the third quarter.
After the game, Jackson praised the efforts of the second unit, commenting, “We’ve never had a box score quite like this before.” When asked whether or not the Lakers have the best bench in the NBA, Jackson mentioned that several elite teams, specifically the Dallas Mavericks and the San Antonio Spurs have starter-level players in Jason Terry and Manu Ginobili coming off the bench for them so it is difficult to judge the Lakers bench versus theirs.
The team leaves L.A. tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. for a three-game road trip beginning with the first of a back-to-back against the Indiana Pacers tomorrow evening.