Zach LaVine scored a game-high 32 points and DeMar DeRozan notched a double-double of 17 points and 10 assists to help the visiting Chicago Bulls defeat the Los Angeles Lakers 118-108 on Sunday afternoon to earn their seventh victory in nine games.
Chicago (36-38) exhaled as the win let them move into a tie with Toronto for ninth place in the Eastern Conference. The Raptors were set to play later Sunday.
After leading by as many as 21 points, the Bulls saw the Lakers pull to within eight with 1:32 to go. Los Angeles (37-38) was unable to sustain the momentum, however, after struggling with ball security. The Lakers committed 18 turnovers, with the Bulls scoring 34 points off opponent miscues.
Los Angeles remains in the Western Conference play-in picture after Sunday’s loss ended a three-game winning streak.
LeBron James led the Lakers with 19 points, while Troy Brown Jr. and Malik Beasley chipped in 18 apiece. Dennis Schroder (17 points), Anthony Davis (15) and Austin Reaves (13) also finished in double figures for the Lakers.
Davis had nine rebounds — one more than James — and Reaves dished seven assists.
Returning to the lineup after missing the past 13 games with a tendon injury in his right foot, James didn’t start Sunday, marking only the second time in 1,414 career games — and the first occasion since December 2007 — that he appeared as a reserve.
Coby White scored 13 points for the Bulls, Andre Drummond had 12 points and eight rebounds and Patrick Beverley added 10 points.
Chicago overcame an ejection to Nikola Vucevic, the team’s top rebounder and third-leading scorer. With 1:02 to play in the second quarter, referees whistled Vucevic for two quick technical fouls for arguing a foul call.
Chicago benefited from 60 percent shooting and a solid effort from the bench to take a 63-55 lead into intermission. LaVine (15 points) and White (10) scored in double figures for the Bulls, whose reserves outscored the Lakers’ 31-14.
The Bulls, who won both meetings against the Lakers last season, will aim for their second straight season-series sweep when they host Los Angeles on Wednesday night.
D’Angelo Russell missed the game for the Lakers with right hip soreness.