NBA Christmas 2014, Lakers vs. Bulls: Time, TV schedule and live stream
D-Rose and Kobe face off in a primetime Christmas Day matchup.
Both the Bulls and Lakers are coming off impressive victories as they enter the holiday. Chicago beat the up-and-coming Wizards in the nation’s capital, 99-91, on Tuesday for its seventh win in eight games. Los Angeles delivered a stunning 115-105 upset of the Warriors two nights ago as Kobe Bryant sat on the bench.
Both teams have momentum, but their win-loss records are mirror images of one another. The 19-9 Bulls will surely be favored over the 9-19 Lakers, but wins over Golden State, San Antonio, Toronto, Houston and Atlanta show that L.A. can play up to its competition every once in a while.
Christmas could be one of those days, but the Lakers will need more out of Bryant than they got before his benching. The 36-year-old has shot 34 percent from the field and 26 percent from three in December, with nearly as many turnovers (4.5) per game as assists (5.4). The sample size indicating L.A. is better with Kobe on the bench has gotten increasingly large, and the team’s surprising win over the Dubs on Tuesday was just the latest example.
It’s hard to say exactly what the team should do with Kobe, given his contract and unique relationship with the franchise, but watching him fire 20-plus shots a game while making roughly a third of them isn’t really an option.
Things have been going much better in Chicago of late, as the Bulls have risen to fourth in the Eastern Conference with their recent run. The team has wins over Washington, Toronto, Portland and Memphis in the past two weeks, and looks to be settling in with a relatively healthy Derrick Rose.
Rose has been great the past couple games, averaging 27 points while shooting 61 percent from the field. He’s not facilitating like some other point guards, but that’s largely a result of the Bulls’ unique offense.
Christmas is also a big day for Bulls big man Pau Gasol, who faces the Lakers for the first time since leaving the team as a free agent over the summer. “Emotional, weird, hard to focus,” Gasol said to ESPN of what he expects from the game. “But at the same time, I kind of look forward to it in a way. To see some of the people that I’ve been through a lot with.”
How to watch
Where: United Center, Chicago
When: 8 p.m. ET
Radio: ESPN Radio
Streaming: Watch TNT