LOS ANGELES -- Let's take a quick look at how the Lakers overpowered the Bulls late and won 98-91 on Tuesday night at Staples Center:
How it happened: The Bulls hung right with the Lakers for three quarters. In the fourth though, the Lakers proved that they simply had more firepower. Shannon Brown and Steve Blake hit huge three-pointers off the bench while Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom played their usual steady game. Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson all played extremely well for the Bulls, but as usual they had a hard time finding anyone else to step up. Luol Deng had 11 points in the first quarter and scored two for the rest of the game. Until the Bulls get more consistent production from Deng, and their bench, they aren't going to have enough to knock off the elite teams in the league, especially the Lakers.
What it means: This game proved a point that anyone who follows the Bulls closely already knew -- the bench is lacking. As a group, they had been playing better, but against a team like the Lakers the difference in quality showed. Brown, Blake and Matt Barnes made a huge difference down the stretch for the Lakers. The Bulls' combo of Ronnie Brewer, C.J. Watson and Kyle Korver couldn't get the job done. The trio finished a combined 3 for 15 from the field. Throw in Keith Bogans' 1-for-5 effort and you have a better understanding as to why the Bulls lost.
Stat of the night: The Lakers' bench scored 39 points to the Bulls' 10.
What's next: The Bulls have to recover quickly considering they play in Phoenix on Wednesday night. The Suns will try to run them out of the gym, and it will be interesting to see how Rose and Co. respond. They're going to be tired, but they have enough talent to take care of Phoenix.