Friday, April 12, 2024
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NBA Preview: Chicago Bulls (21-24) at Los Angeles Lakers (22-23)

The Los Angeles Lakers keep sliding down the Western Conference standings, and the schedule isn’t going to get easier.

The stumbling Lakers have dropped 13 of their past 20 games as they enter a home contest against the Chicago Bulls on Thursday.

After Thursday’s game, Los Angeles will begin a six-game road excursion that includes a visit to the Boston Celtics on Feb. 1. The Lakers next play at home Feb. 8 against the Denver Nuggets.

There’s a chance LeBron James (ankle) will not play against the Bulls and miss his second straight game. He sat out the Lakers’ 127-116 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday.

Lakers coach Darvin Ham said James is day-to-day and added that the team is being cautious.

D’Angelo Russell starred for Los Angeles with 27 points and 10 assists against the Clippers to continue his recent stellar play. He is averaging 27.2 points and 7.0 assists over the past six games.

Ham said his club gave a top-notch effort against the Clippers despite the negative result.

Anthony Davis contributed 26 points and 12 rebounds for the Lakers and has six straight double-doubles.

Chicago will try to bounce back after blowing a 23-point lead on Monday and eventually falling 115-113 to the host Phoenix Suns. Kevin Durant hit the game-winning jumper with 1.6 seconds left for the Suns.

The Bulls outplayed Phoenix for most of the game before things got away from them as they dropped to 7-14 on the road.

White was superb against Phoenix, as he scored 26 points, matched his career high of 10 rebounds and added nine assists. He had a bigger role with Zach LaVine (ankle) sidelined for the second straight game. LaVine is expected to sit out Thursday as well.

White, a fifth-year pro, is averaging 18.8 points while starting all 45 of Chicago’s games. He started just twice in 74 appearances last season, when he averaged 9.7 points.

Chicago has won four of the past five meetings between the teams, including a 124-108 home win on Dec. 20. DeRozan scored 27 points on 12-of-16 shooting for the Bulls, while James had 25 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists for the Lakers.

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