The margin of error was always small with this Bulls team this season. The injuries, recently, and over the last two months have shrunken that gap even further. Add this to teams jockeying and fighting for their playoff lives
The Bulls (35-28) weren’t able to slow down the hot Los Angeles Lakers, falling 90-81 at the Staples Center and losing for the third time in the last four games.
Nate Robinson led the team with 19 points and eight assists. Joakim Noah finished with 18 points and 17 rebounds.
Still without Kirk Hinrich, Richard Hamilton, Taj Gibson and Derrick Rose, The team shot just 37 percent from field for the second straight game and the offense continues to struggle.
“We’ve got enough,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “We’ve got to do the right things. You do the right things; you’ll be in position to win. I think our level of intensity has to go up, especially on the road. The Lakers are playing very good basketball right now. They’re not going to beat themselves. You’ve got to come in and play well. It’s got to be a well-balanced game, high energy on offense, the ball is moving, bodies are moving and then defensively, you’ve got to be tied together. If you take a shortcut, you’re going to pay.”
The fight was there. The Bulls battled back from being down 18 after a 12-0 run midway through the third quarter made it 65-47 in the Lakers favor.
Kobe Bryant, who led Los Angeles with 19 points, nine assists and seven rebounds, helped close things in the final frame with five points and four assists. Dwight Howard contributed 16 points, 21 rebounds and four blocks.
“Our ball movement wasn’t too bad,” said Noah of the team’s 17 assists on 33 field goals. “We’re always in each other’s way, so we’ve got to find a way to spread the court a little bit more. It’s just disappointing because we’re not executing our offense very well right now. There’s still a long way to go and guys are going to come back healthy, and we’re going to make our run.”
That remains the hope with 19 games remaining, but the goal has always been to be playing their best basketball headed into the postseason.