LOS ANGELES – There’s no reason that he shouldn’t feel right at home when he’s playing at the Staples Center.
He grew up in Compton, California and played in college basketball at USC and has played in his hometown of Los Angeles many times as he enters his 13th season in the NBA. While Monday night was the first time he’s done so with the Bulls, DeMar DeRozan looked as comfortable as ever playing at the Staples Center.
In a second-straight strong performance in as many nights, DeRozan scored a game-high 38 points as the Bulls ran away from the Lakers in a 121-103 victory that completes a Los Angeles sweep. The forward also had 35 points in a 100-90 win over the Clippers on Sunday night at the Staples Center.
He went 15-of-23 from the field in 35 minutes, also adding six assists and three rebounds to his homecoming effort on Monday. DeRozan was far from the only Bulls’ player to have a strong night while also having some Los Angeles connections.
Former Laker Lonzo Ball, who grew up in Chino Hills, California then played for UCLA, scored 27 points including seven three-pointers while dishing out a team-high eight assists. Former Bruins standout Zach LaVine had 26 points on the evening as well while former Laker Alex Caruso started and had six rebounds with five assists.
“Every night you’ve got to find some type of extra motivation, and we’ve got a couple guys who’ve played here, from here, so just having that extra juice and energy to go out there and compete, it’s always beneficial,” said DeRozan.
The forward did most of his damage in the second and third quarters when he scored 27 of his game-high 38 points. The third is when the Bulls pulled away from the Lakers with a 37-25 quarter to turn the game into a rout as they improved to 2-1 on their five-game road trip against Western Conference teams.
But of all these contests, its safe to say the one in Los Angeles carried just a little bit more weight for some members of the team.