JIMMY Butler got plenty of buckets and a lot of help from the rest of the Bulls as Chicago held on to beat the skidding Los Angeles Lakers, 118-110, at the Staples Center on Sunday (Monday, Manila time).
Butler dropped his season-high 40 points and found ample support from his teammates even as Dwyane Wade sat out the game. The Bulls and Lakers fought a tightly contested match right until the buzzer, even though Chicago built its biggest lead at 15 and led by 13, 113-100, with over three minutes left in the game with timely hits from Ish Canaan, Nikola Mirotic and Taj Gibson.
Back-to-back triples by D’Angelo Russell and Nick Young got the Lakers within five, 110-115, with under a minute to play but after a Bulls turnover, Russell missed on another three-pointer and Rajon Rondo drilled a huge basket off a Butler assist to put the Bulls up for good.
Canaan also had his season-high 17 points off the bench to fill in for Wade. Gibson and Mirotic each had 15 and combined for 22 rebounds to help the Bulls improve their record to 9-5. Robin Lopez finished with a double-double of 12 markers and 11 rebounds, while Rondo only had four markers but added 12 assists and nine boards.
Lou Williams and Larry Nance Jr had 25 and 18 points, respectively, to lead the Lakers, who fell to 7-7 after suffering their second straight loss. Nick Young added 15 while Julius Randle chipped in 14 markers. Russell and Jordan Clarkson struggled on the floor, combining for just 4-of-23 field goals to finish with eight and five points, respectively.