Fighting back from a double-digit deficit to make a final score respectable against an elite Western Conference team might have been seen as a moral victory for the Los Angeles Lakers in recent seasons.Especially when their loss totals were 61 and 65.This year, the young Lakers are not accepting losing a close game or making a score more respectable.Los Angeles is in the beginning stages of a difficult stretch of its schedule that might give a clearer idea about how it stacks up and it continues Sunday night when it hosts the Chicago Bulls.Los Angeles has won seven of its first 13 games with notable wins over the Houston Rockets, Golden State Warriors and Atlanta Hawks. The Lakers had a chance at another noteworthy win Friday but ultimately could not stop the San Antonio Spurs from making enough big shots in a 116-107 loss.Los Angeles was tied with the Spurs early in the third quarter and fell behind by as many as 15 before making the final margin closer.Last year, we would have been out of this game if we were down by that much, Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson said. Were out here to compete every night now. Were not OK with any loss.Friday was the first of a hellacious week for the Lakers. After facing Chicago, Los Angeles hosts the Oklahoma City Thunder, plays a home-and-home with Golden State and hosts Atlanta before playing 12 of its next 15 games on the road.Regardless of their feelings, the Lakers may play Sunday without second-year guard DAngelo Russell. Russell missed Fridays game with a sore left knee and coach Luke Walton does not expect it to be a long-term problem.It makes it really hard, Lakers forward Julius Randle said. (Russell) gets us in our stuff, obviously can really score the ball. Hes a great leader for us.Russell did not practice Saturday and received treatment on the knee. He will be re-evaluated Sunday and is listed as questionable.His knee has been bothering him (but) hes been playing through it, Walton said. It started hurting more, so they decided last night when he got to the arena to shut him down.Russell leads the Lakers with 16.8 points per game, slightly ahead of veteran Lou Williams. Williams scored 24 Friday and has helped the Los Angeles reserves lead the league in scoring at 51 points.Chicago had its four-game winning streak stopped by imploding in the fourth quarter of a 102-95 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers Saturday night. The Bulls led by 19 in the second quarter but allowed 30 points in the fourth and made one basket in the final 6 1/2 minutes.Dwyane Wade scored 28 points but shot 9-of-20, including 1-of-5 in the fourth quarter. Jimmy Butler added 22 but was even more inefficient by shooting 5-of-18.It was a good night for us, we just didnt come out with the win, Wade said. Its the NBA, leads are whatever. Id rather have a 19-point lead in the second half. Im not all about the 20-point leads in the first half, especially on the road. A team is going to come back and the game is going to turn in their favor.Saturday was even more frustrating for Chicago as coach Fred Hoiberg was ejected in the waning seconds after Taj Gibson got called for a technical foul. That came shortly after Butler was called for a questionable foul on Blake Griffin as the shot clock was winding down, resulting in a four-point deficit from the foul shots.Chicago also lost for the first time when taking a lead into the fourth quarter and the collapse cost the Bulls their first 3-0 start to their annual circus trip since 1995.Chicago has swept the season series with the Lakers in two of the last three seasons. 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It was the second consecutive win for the Pacers (2-5), who lost their first five preseason games. Jeff Teague led the Hawks (1-5) with 17 points and eight assists and Al Horford had 12 points and seven rebounds. Mike Scott scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half.St Helens coach Keiron Cunningham is adamant his team will not take Salford lightly in Thursdays Super League clash at the AJ Bell Stadium, live on Sky Sports 2 HD from 7.30pm. Saints opened their campaign with an impressive 30-16 win over Huddersfield, while the Red Devils shipped eight tries as Hull FC demolished them 42-20.However, Cunningham says it would be dangerous to underestimate Salford and believes they have the potential to be a real Super League force. Mark Flanagan, Ian Watson and Josh Jones look ahead to Salfords first home fixture of the season against St Helens I dont think any of the history of past results have any bearing on any of the games, Cunningham told Sky Sports. If we drop our guard on Thursday even slightly, then we are in for a tough night. Salford are a really resilient side and they have two great half-backs who kick the ball well. They also have a really fit and mobile middle so it is going to be a tough night for us.Tim Sheens has done a great job there but I think one of the biggest assets is bringing Greg Brown in as their conditioning coach. He is phenomenal and really changed the structures there. Jordan Turner notched his 100th career try as St Helens romped to a 30-16 victory over Huddersfield You can see the body shapes of the teeam have changed - and they are fit, strong, athletes now.dddddddddddd That is after just one pre-season and if Salford stick with him and his theories then going forward they are going to be a real force.St Helens will be without James Roby who is nursing some rib ligament damage but Cunningham says they have plenty of cover for that crucial hooker role and has called up Morgan Knowles from the reserves. Weve been spending some time with the new man in charge at Salford to find out what goes into being a Super League head coach Salford: Niall Evalds, Justin Carney, Josh Griffin, Robert Lui, Michael Dobson, Craig Kopczak, Tommy Lee, George Griffin, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Mark Flanagan, Gareth OBrien, Adam Walne, Olsi Krasniqi, Phil Joseph, Greg Johnson, Logan Tomkins, Ryan Lannon, Matt Sarsfield, Josh Jones.St Helens: Tommy Makinson, Jordan Turner, Mark Percival, Adam Swift, Luke Walsh, Alex Walmsley,Kyle Amor, Atelea Vea, Jon Wilkin, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Lama Tasi, Greg Richards, Andre Savelio, Luke Thompson, Theo Fages, Joe Greenwood, Jack Owens, Morgan Knowles, Calvin Wellington. Keiron Cunningham and Kyle Amor look ahead to St Helens clash with Salford Watch Salford v St Helens live on Sky Sports 2 HD on Thursday from 7.30pm. Catch the match for £6.99 on NOW TV. No contract. ' ' '