It has been almost four years since the Bulls have defeated the Lakers -- on December 19, 2006, the Bulls beat the visitors from Los Angeles 94-89 at the United Center. Only one player from that team remains on today's Bulls -- Luol Deng.
Since then, it's been seven straight defeats at the hands of the two-time defending champions -- three in Chicago and four in Los Angeles, including 98-91 at the Staples Center on November 23. Derrick Rose, the undisputed leader of this Bulls team, led the Bulls with 30 points that night, but despite being within one at the end of three quarters, the Lakers pulled away to win in the fourth. The Bulls held Kobe Bryant to 20 points that night, but Lamar Odom and Shannon Brown had 21 each.
This will also be -- barring a meeting between the Bulls and Lakers in the NBA Finals this year -- former Bulls coach Phil Jackson's final appearance at the UC. At least that's what he says; Jackson claims he's retiring at the end of the season. Another title would probably hasten that decision.
Jackson's appearance may be one of the reasons this game was chosen to be ESPN's early NBA Friday game. It will also appear on CSN Chicago at 7 p.m. CST.