Chicago Bulls Vs. Los Angeles Lakers: Bulls Lose To Lakers During Western Conference Road Trip

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ANALYSIS: Bulls Hold Kobe Bryant Down, But Lakers Fourth-Quarter Run Hands Bulls 98-91 Loss

When playing the Lakers, holding Kobe Bryant down is always a good idea. The Bulls did that, double-teaming Kobe and holding him to 20 points, under his 25.3 per game average.

Unfortunately for the Bulls, Chicago native Shannon Brown and Lamar Odom both had 21 points and the Lakers went on a 17-2 run early in the fourth quarter, at one point leading by 13, before the Bulls made the final score more respectable.

The Bulls at least showed they can stay with the defending champs, who are tough to beat anywhere, but especially on their home floor. Derrick Rose impressed the LA crowd with 30 points, and Joakim Noah put together his ninth double-double in 12 games this season with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Taj Gibson, who was able to play despite worries over a pinched nerve in his foot, also contributed a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds.

The Bulls will face the Suns in Phoenix tonight.

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Chicago Bulls Lose To The Lakers During Western Conference Road Trip

Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) – Shannon Brown and Lamar Odom each scored 21 points and Kobe Bryant chipped in 20, as the Los Angeles Lakers used a big run in the fourth quarter to down the Chicago Bulls, 98-91.

Pau Gasol recorded 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakers, who made 10 three-pointers en route to their fifth straight win.

“They’ve been shooting the three great all season,” Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said of the Lakers. “They are a great defensive team, and we settled too much for the jumper.”

Derrick Rose carried Chicago with 30 points, eight assists and five boards, but the Bulls couldn’t halt their six-game skid against the defending champions. Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson each logged double-doubles, with the former totaling 19 points and 13 rebounds, and the latter notching 16 and 12.

It was a one-possession game in the early stages of the fourth quarter until the Lakers began to pull away behind a 17-2 run that featured four three- pointers.

Brown made one for an 82-81 lead to start the spurt, Steve Blake made a pair from long range, and Gasol’s 1-for-2 showing at the foul line resulted in a 96-83 game with 4 1/2 minutes to play.

“We went small in the fourth quarter because we had success in the first quarter with it,” Lakers head coach Phil Jackson said. “We had anticipated this type of game and we got things accomplished.”

Chicago got as close as 96-89, but Kyle Korver missed a three-point try with just over a minute left prior to Gasol’s putback at the other end, essentially clinching the Lakers’ victory.

Brown drained one from long range just prior to the first-quarter buzzer to tie the game, 26-26, then scored 15 points in the second stanza to help the Lakers take a 51-49 lead into the break.

LA scored the first eight points of the third quarter, but the Bulls slowly chipped away at the deficit and trailed just 74-73 heading to the final frame.

Game Notes

The Bulls fell to 2-2 on a seven-game road trip…Luol Deng netted 13 points for Chicago…Odom also grabbed eight rebounds…Both teams shot 39.5 percent from the floor, but the Lakers made 24-of-27 free throws, compared to Chicago’s 19-of-26 effort.

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Chicago Bulls Vs. Los Angeles Lakers: Taj Gibson Will Play Tonight

After reports that Bulls forward Taj Gibson would miss tonight's game in Los Angeles against the Lakers due to a pinched nerve in his foot, and the fact that he didn't practice at all on Monday. Today, coach Tom Thibodeau announced that Gibson has been cleared to play tonight, calling the MRI that Gibson had yesterday "a precaution."

That's good news, because the Bulls could use the additional rebounding help that Gibson gives to Joakim Noah. Gibson scored 17 points and had 18 rebounds in the Bulls' big win over the Dallas Mavericks last Friday, and overall this season he has good numbers: 12.1 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.

Beyond that, the Bulls will be facing a 12-2 Lakers team off to the start that everyone thought the Miami Heat might have. The defending champions are 7-1 at home and have won four in a row, blowing out their opposition by an average of 17.3 points per game over that span. Their last win was by 28 over the Golden State Warriors on Sunday, when Pau Gasol was a perfect 10-for-10 from the field and wound up with 28 points. Of course, the Bulls have their own blowout win over the Warriors this year, by 30 at home on Nov. 11. Tonight's late-night affair begins at 9:30 p.m. CST and will be televised on CSN Chicago.

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