The buzz left the building in the third quarter, returning only when Anthony Davis was ejected from the game with 2:20 left in the quarter and increasing when the Lakers cut a 25-point deficit to 15 in the fourth quarter.
Fans had seen this act before, the Lakers getting dominated in the third quarter, unable to match the energy and effort of yet another opponent.
This time, the Lakers couldn’t keep up with the faster and younger Chicago Bulls after the intermission, getting run off the Staples Center court during a 121-103 defeat before 18,997 fans at Staples Center on Monday night.
“It’s things we got to get better at,” the Lakers’ Carmelo Anthony said. “We will get better at it. We know it. We talk about it. We discuss it. So, now it’s a matter of putting that in motion.”
Lonzo Ball, the former Laker who played at Chino Hills High and UCLA, put a stop to whatever thoughts the Lakers had at attempting a comeback.
He completed his night with 27 points, making seven of 10 three-pointers and 10 of 13 field goals. He had 13 points in the fourth quarter, going to work after the Lakers had pulled to within 68-53 on a Talen Horton-Tucker dunk.
Ball scored on a drive and a three-pointer, putting the Lakers back in a hole they never were able to climb out of.
The Lakers fell behind by 28 points in the fourth, never finding a way to slow down the Bulls, who shot 55.1% from the field and 45.5% from three-point range. The Lakers, meanwhile, made just 18.8% of their three-pointers, shooting six for 32.
Horton-Tucker had career-high 28 points and six rebounds in his second start of the season. Davis had just 20 points and six rebounds before he was ejected.
DeMar DeRozan, who attended Compton High and USC, dropped 38 points on the Lakers on 15-for-23 shooting.
Zach LaVine, the former UCLA star, had 26 points, making six of 13 three-point attempts.
“Zach’s been really hot so we were trying to take the ball out of his hands. Lonzo gets going on the backside,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said.
“We tried to double-team DeRozan early because of what Lonzo and Zach look like on the backside … They are an extremely difficult team to guard. They put a lot of pressure on you … Give them credit for shooting the heck out of the ball.”
Russell Westbrook started strong for the Lakers, but he finished the game with 25 points on eight-for-19 shooting. He missed all six of his three-point attempts.
Starters Carmelo Anthony and Avery Bradley didn’t provide much offense either for the Lakers — Anthony had nine points and Bradley just three.
“I don’t think you’re going to beat anybody shooting six for 32 in today’s game,” Anthony said.
Davis picked up his first technical foul in the first quarter. But it was the second one in the third that baffled Vogel.
Davis’ shoe came off after he missed a shot. Ball retrieved the shoe and gave it back to Davis, who was putting it on when the referee gave the ball to the Bulls to take out of bounds.
Davis made a comment to the official, was given a technical and tossed from the game.
“Typical, the ref will let the guy get his shoe on, have some common sense,” Vogel said. “Quick inbounds. AD said that’s ‘BS,’ which happens about 15 times in the NBA. Every game. OK. Quick tech. Ejection. All I’m going to say about that.”
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.