The Los Angeles Lakers continued their very public implosion on Monday night as the Chicago Bulls handed L.A. its sixth consecutive road loss. The defeat drops Kobe Bryant and company to a dismal 17-24 on the season, while the 24-16 Bulls continue to look like a viable playoff participant even with Derrick Rose sidelined.
These four lessons stood out during the 95-83 Chicago victory:
1. The Lakers are looking even older than they are
L.A. starts three players with at least 13 years each of NBA experience, and the mileage has taken its toll. Playing their second game in as many days, the Lakers couldn’t even come close to matching the Bulls’ energy, and even 34-year-old Rip Hamilton was running rings around them for long stretches.
The problem is compounded by the fact that young gun Dwight Howard plays at such a plodding pace. Howard has the strength to vacuum up any rebound he can reach, but the Bulls still racked up 14 offensive boards because they were hustling to the ball and the Lakers weren’t.
2. Officiating is going to be a huge factor in any Chicago playoff series