After a fast start, the Bulls falter in the second half in a loss to the Lakers

LOS ANGELES – It turns out that the best play of the game for the Bulls ended up symbolizing a familiar result in a difficult start to the 2017-2018 season.

It came in the second quarter with just under nine minutes left against the Lakers Tuesday night, when guard Antonio Blakeney got the outlet pass on the break and went in for a one-handed slam as Julius Randle unsuccessfully tried to block in. The great dunk was part of a strong 15-point game for Blakeney, who brought out a gasp from the crowd with the play that put the Bulls up by 15.

Yet his stare down of Randle as he made his way down the floor was enough for the guard to be assessed a technical for taunting.

Great play at the start, but a less-than-desirable finish. That’s about the way you would sum up Fred Hoiberg team’s effort at the Staples Center on Tuesday night.

Leading by 14 at the half, the Lakers surged ahead of a slowing Bulls team and finished it off with a 31-19 fourth quarter run. Instead of picking up their fourth win of the year, the Bulls were saddled with their 12th defeat of the season as Los Angeles pulled away for the 103-94 win.

In the end, the Bulls were outscored 61-38 in the second half after putting up 56 points in the first 24 minutes of the game. Blakeney, who had the symbolic dunk, didn’t score a single point in the second half as the offense stalled.

Kyle Kuzma led the Lakers with 22 points while Kentavious Caldwell-Pope adding 21, most of which came during a strong second half run. The latter scored 11 points in the final three minutes to break an 89-all tie and send the Bulls to another difficult defeat in a season dominated by them so far.