Homecomings for NBA players are often something special to watch, and DeMar DeRozan of the Chicago Bulls proved that. DeRozan went off for 38 points versus his hometown team of the Los Angeles Lakers. Rumors of him joining the Lakers were all around the NBA Twitterverse, but he decided on the Bulls and the Lakers chose Russell Westbrook as their hometown kid for the season.
Russell Westbrook is also a hometown kid from California but had a much less exciting homecoming on opening night this season against the Golden State Warriors. Westbrook scored only eight points with five rebounds and just four steals. Since then, he has rounded into form, putting up 25 points, six rebounds and eight assists against the Chicago Bulls in an 18 point loss.
NBA analyst Chris Broussard said on Fox Sports First This First,
"This year we've heard a lot about Russell Westbrook's homecoming. Well, last night it was 3 Bulls with Los Angeles ties that did in the Lakers."
The loss did not look good for the Lakers, with multiple players on the Chicago Bulls tying back to the Lakers or the California area. The Lakers drafted Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso. DeRozan was recruited by the Lakers this offseason and was also born and raised in California. Zach LaVine played his college ball at the University of California, Los Angeles.
The Lakers are already off to a slow start, but being beaten by 18 points in Los Angeles by many players who have ties to the team and area is not a good look for the team.
Are the Chicago Bulls genuine Eastern Conference Contenders
The Chicago Bulls put up a dominating performance against the Lakers as they quickly became one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference so early in the season. DeMar DeRozan led all players in scoring with 38, but Lonzo Ball and Zach LaVine also helped with a combined 53 points.
The Bulls beat a Lakers team that is looking to make a Finals run. However, they were without LeBron James for the night.
The good thing about the victory for the Bulls is that their stars all played well, maybe with the added want to beat a Lakers team in front of friends and family. Each of the Bulls' three stars played great overall team games, having at least five rebounds and five assists.
The Chicago Bulls and DeMar DeRozan, despite their early-season success, still had questions about them, but this commanding win over the Lakers chances that, even if James was out. The Bulls now have all the tools to be a good team in the Eastern Conference, even without Patrick Williams.
They have three players on the backcourt and the wings who can score and create for others, and Caruso, who can be there to do anything, is a Swiss army knife player. Don't forget Nikola Vucevic, who has struggled on offense this season, is out with an injury.
The Chicago Bulls have all the great ingredients to be an Eastern Conference contender, and they already seem to be blending very well.