Butler carries Bulls over Lakers

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[November 21, 2016]  LOS ANGELES -- Jimmy Butler certainly didn't look tired.

Playing the second night of a back-to-back weekend at Staples Center without teammate Dwyane Wade, Butler carried the Chicago Bulls to a 118-110 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night.

Butler scored 40 points on 14-of-23 shooting from the field and 12-of-14 from the free-throw line. Twelve of those points came in the third quarter as the Bulls took control of the game.

The win gave the Bulls (9-5) a split of their weekend in Los Angeles after they lost to the Clippers on Saturday night. Chicago is off to a 3-1 start to a six-game road trip.

The Lakers, meanwhile, fell back to .500 (7-7) and have back-to-back losses to start their own daunting stretch of schedule. The defeats to San Antonio (on Friday) and Chicago will be followed by games against the Oklahoma City Thunder, two against the Golden State Warriors and one against the Atlanta Hawks. All of those teams are over .500.

"He was great all night long, attacking the basket," Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said of Butler. "Obviously with Dwyane out, we're going to play through Jimmy.

"Jimmy did an unbelievable job all night of getting himself to the basket, getting to the free-throw line, making plays for his teammates. It was a very impressive overall game."

Hoiberg chose to sit out Wade, 34, in the second of the back-to-back games and remarked before the game how taxing the matchup with the Clippers was for Butler.

"You look at what he did last night, chasing (Clippers shooter) J.J. Redick around all night," Hoiberg said. "That is a hard guy to guard, chasing him around screens. He's as tiring as anyone you're going to guard all year long. So for Jimmy to bounce back with this kind of effort ... I give him credit for doing what he needed to do to get himself ready and rested.

"He told me before the game, 'Coach, I'm going for 40,' and he did it."

Butler was the dominant force in the game from the start Sunday. He scored 13 points in the first quarter and abused young Lakers defenders D'Angelo Russell and Brandon Ingram (as well as Nick Young). He got to the free-throw line four separate times in the first quarter and had 19 first-half points, including nine on foul shots.

"I just felt like that's what my team was going to need from me," Butler said of being in attack mode from the tipoff. "I wanted to put the ball in the basket. Of course, I still needed to play defense and rebound. But without our second scorer (Wade), I needed to put the ball in the basket."

The Lakers offset that with their strong bench scoring, led by Lou Williams. He came off the bench late in the first quarter and ignited a 20-12 Lakers run into the second quarter, scoring 14 of the points himself -- including a double-clutch, running 3-pointer from just inside halfcourt as the first-quarter buzzer sounded.

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Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. (7) gets a shot blocked by Chicago Bulls forward Jimmy Butler (21) in the first half of the game at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Lakers built a 75-67 lead midway through the third quarter before everything turned.

The Bulls went on a 15-3 run that featured eight points from Butler. Seven Lakers possessions during the Bulls' run produced 0-for-3 shooting from the field and four turnovers. That was the last lead change of the game.

"Jimmy Butler had a pretty fantastic game. He's a pretty fantastic player," Lakers coach Luke Walton said. "But if he's going to do that, then we have to shut down the rest of the guys. We let him get his, and the role players all chipped in and did their part as well.

"You either have to take away the star or take away the role players. You can't let everyone have a night."

In Butler's shadow, four other Bulls had at least 15 points, including Isaiah Canaan, who came off the bench to score 17 (13 in the second half). The Bulls outscored the Lakers 60-44 in the paint and outrebounded them 56-37.

"That's what they're great at, and they manhandled us," Walton said.

Russell returned to the Lakers' starting lineup after missing Friday's loss to the Spurs due to a sore knee. However, he scored just eight points (half of his season average) on 3-of-11 shooting. Williams and Larry Nance Jr. provided most of the offensive spark for Los Angeles, scoring 25 and 18 points, respectively, off the bench.

NOTES: Chicago G Dwyane Wade (rest) missed a game for the first time this season. ... Bulls G Rajon Rondo played against the Clippers on Saturday and the Lakers on Sunday after missing the previous two games with an ankle injury. He finished with four points, 12 assists and nine rebounds Sunday. ... Chicago F Doug McDermott missed his fourth consecutive game due to a concussion. McDermott has not played since Nov. 12 and did not travel with the Bulls on the current road trip.

[ 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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