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LeBron James praises bench players after Lakers rally to beat Bulls

Wednesday 6 November 2019 10:18, UK

Lebron James 3:10
Lebron James praises the work done by the LA Lakers bench players to turn around the game against the Chicago Bulls

LeBron James notched his third straight triple-double as the Los Angeles Lakers rallied to beat the Chicago Bulls but gave the credit for the win to LA's bench players.

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James had 30 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds, becoming the first player to post three consecutive triple-doubles for the Lakers since Magic Johnson had four in a row in 1987.

"It comes with team success for me," James said. "A triple-double means absolutely nothing to me if it's not in a win."

LeBron James drives from the perimeter against Chicago 1:55
LeBron James posted his third consecutive triple-double to inspire the Los Angeles Lakers to a comeback win over the Chicago Bulls

Los Angeles trailed by 19 points before outscoring Chicago 38-19 in the fourth during the finale of a three-game trip. Kyle Kuzma, coming off the bench as part of his return from injury, began the quarter with seven straight points, part of a 16-0 run that lifted the Lakers to a 96-93 lead with 8:12 left.

James was on the bench for most of the big spurt, and Davis watched the entire run from the sideline.

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"AD was in foul trouble. Bron was exhausted," Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. "Both of those guys needed to stay on the bench and other guys needed to step up, and they did."

James echoed the sentiments of his coach. "Our bench is going to be key for us. Our depth has been a good ingredient for us," he said.

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LeBron James grapples for possession against the Chicago Bulls
Image: LeBron James grapples for possession against the Chicago Bulls

"It was great to see Kuz get back into a rhythm. I felt he was playing a little fast in the first half. He slowed down in the second half and showed what he is capable of doing. AC (Alex Caruso), Dwight (Howard) and QC (Quinn Cook), everybody that was out there, they were great. Without them, we don't get this win."

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Asked by NBA TV's Dennis Scott about the Lakers' ultimate goal for the season, James said: "We can't think about the Finals even though that's the aspiration. We have small goals in mind and one is to be the best defensive team in the league every night.

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"We took a step backwards in the first half but we showed what we are capable of in the second half just by locking them down, making them take tough shots and trying to hold guys under their averages.

"You've got to be able to win in adverse situations and the road always provides that. For us to come on a three-game road trip this early in the season and take care of business in Dallas, in San Antonio and here (in Chicago) against a young and hungry team, to come out 3-0, it's a good test for us."

Los Angeles Chicago 2:06
Highlights of the LA Lakers' clash with the Chicago Bulls in Week 3 of the NBA

NBA TV analyst Isiah Thomas said the Lakers ability to utlise their defense to bounce back from a double-digit deficit makes an important step forward for the team.

Speaking on GameTime, Thomas said: "The Lakers came out in the second half and locked down defensively. They are starting to get more ingrained in terms of their identity, who they are, what they want to be.

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"They want to be known as a great defensive team and they are starting to make inroads into that."

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