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Bench stars as Lakers ride fourth-quarter rally past Bulls for 6th straight win

  • The Lakers’ LeBron James, left, drives to the basket past the Bulls’ Zach LaVine during the first half of Tuesday’s game in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James (23) shoots over Chicago Bulls’ Otto Porter Jr. during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

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  • Chicago Bulls head coach Jim Boylen motions to his team during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James, center, drives to the basket past Chicago Bulls’ Otto Porter Jr. (22) and Zach LaVine during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James, right, and Chicago Bulls’ Otto Porter Jr. battle for a loose ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, left, drives past Chicago Bulls’ Wendell Carter Jr. during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James, right, drives to the basket past Chicago Bulls’ Otto Porter Jr. during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James reacts after fouling during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019, in Chicago. The Lakers won 118-112. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James, right, drives past Chicago Bulls’ Luke Kornet during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Chicago Bulls head coach Jim Boylen motions to his team during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ Quinn Cook (2) is double-teamed by Chicago Bulls’ Coby White, center, and Kris Dunn during the second half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019, in Chicago. The Lakers won 118-112. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Actress Taraji P. Henson sits court side during the first half of an NBA basketball game between the Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel watches his team play defense during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019, in Chicago. The Lakers won 118-112. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

  • Los Angeles Lakers’ Anthony Davis celebrates on the bench as his team mounts a fourth quarter comeback against the Chicago Bulls during an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019, in Chicago. The Lakers won 118-112. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

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CHICAGO — Midway through the third quarter after a turnover that he had fired straight at a Bulls defender, Anthony Davis’ head slumped as he trudged back to the bench. Even as Lakers teammates and coaches went up to him and tapped him on the shoulder, he looked unmoved by their words.

The Lakers were down by double digits, and Davis was an obvious culprit, underachieving in a return to his hometown. That seemed destined to be the defining image of the evening as the desperate Chicago Bulls charged with a head full of steam, catching their visitors flat-footed on the last night of a three-game trip.

But out of an unassuming bench lineup – Quinn Cook, Troy Daniels, Kyle Kuzma, Alex Caruso and Dwight Howard – and absent the top two stars, an unbelievable comeback materialized.

A roster that has sometimes been criticized as top-heavy looked remarkably complete during the fourth quarter fury the Lakers unleashed at United Center on Tuesday night, starting the period on a lopsided 29-4 run that eventually clinched a 118-112 victory, the Lakers’ sixth straight.

After trailing by as much as 19, their largest deficit of the young season, Kuzma (15 points) and Cook (17 points) took starring roles on offense, hitting big shots and injecting life into a previously moribund team. Howard helped lock down the paint, at once sending the Bulls’ mop-top rookie Coby White to the floor with a blocked shot and getting the suddenly confident Lakers fans up on their feet.

LeBron James finished with a team-high 30 points and his third consecutive triple-double (11 assists, 10 rebounds), for three quarters operating as the team’s only sign of life. But the live-wire boost from the bench with a 14-0 run without James or Davis – finally taking the lead at 94-93 on a baseline jumper from Cook with 8:53 left – was the reason the Lakers were able to finish their first true road trip with an umblemished record.

The Lakers (6-1) needed the reserves to fill a sizeable void: A hometown return for Davis was not so sweet. In his poorest shooting performance of the season, Davis was just 6 for 15.

But by the end, even Davis had lifted – flashing a 3-point hand sign as Cook buried another shot from the wing (one of his three 3-pointers). Davis (15 points, seven rebounds) even had a celebratory alley-oop from James late, helping put the finishing touches on a win his teammates manufactured.

The Bulls (2-6) used a 16-2 run to open a 60-42 lead with 2:49 left in the first half. Wendell Carter’s two foul shots made it 63-44 with 2:10 to go.

More to come on this story.

“I know it’s going to be a process… but today was encouraging.”@kylekuzma talks post-game with @LakersReporter following tonight’s win. pic.twitter.com/lFXiFCStln

— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) November 6, 2019

For the lead 👌pic.twitter.com/5KvtSBdJxk

— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) November 6, 2019

👀 LeBron ➡ Dwight 💥#LakeShow on @NBATV pic.twitter.com/906PHx2Gyq

— NBA (@NBA) November 6, 2019

Alex Caruso steals it & finishes through contact! #LakeShow on a 24-4 run to open the 4Q on @NBATV! pic.twitter.com/ytn50QFvCe

— NBA (@NBA) November 6, 2019

LeBron to AD for the oop! pic.twitter.com/pmdZdh2J61

— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) November 6, 2019

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