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Bulls 88, Lakers 87 (final)

December 25, 2011 |  5:05 pm


Bulls 88, Lakers 87 (final)

A festive mood inside Staples Center quickly turned sour after the Lakers squandered a six-point lead in the final two minutes while losing their season opener against the Chicago Bulls.

Derrick Rose made a one-handed runner over Pau Gasol to give the Bulls an 88-87 lead with four seconds left. Kobe Bryant then drove toward the right side of the basket, where three Bulls converged around him and Luol Deng blocked his shot as time expired.

Things had seemed more promising for the Lakers when Bryant made a turnaround, fadeaway jumper while falling down to give his team an 87-81 lead with 55 seconds left.

PHOTOS: Lakers vs. Bulls season opener

But the Lakers didn't help themselves by missing four free throws in the final 1:40, two by Gasol and then two more by Josh McRoberts.

Deng was fouled while scoring on a driving layup and converted a three-point play by making the ensuing free throw. He then made two more free throws with 20 seconds left to pull the Bulls to within 87-86 before forcing a steal when the Bulls double-teamed Bryant.

Bryant finished with 28 points on 11-for-23 shooting, putting to rest any doubts about his injured right wrist. Rose had 22 points and Deng added 21 for the Bulls.

It was not the way the Lakers wanted to start a back-to-back-to-back situation that has them traveling to play in Sacramento on Monday before returning to Staples Center to play host to Utah on Tuesday.

Lakers 69, Bulls 68 (end of third quarter)

Kobe Bryant came up big during an 8-0 push that helped the Lakers retake the lead over the Bulls.

Bryant made a pair of free throws, a fadeaway jumper and a steal that led to a Derek Fisher layup as part of the run. Bryant had eight points in the quarter, giving him 22 for the game on eight-for-16 shooting.

Lakers power forward Josh McRoberts also had a few memorable moments, blocking a shot by Chicago's Taj Gibson and taking a pass from Steve Blake for a dunk.

Chicago point guard Derrick Rose made a pair of three-pointers in the quarter and now has 18 points on seven-for-10 shooting.

Bulls 56, Lakers 49 (halftime)

Closing out quarters has been a problem for the Lakers.

After letting Chicago outscore them, 12-2, to end the first quarter, the Lakers allowed the Bulls to finish the second on a 9-2 run to take a 56-49 halftime lead.

Bulls point guard Derrick Rose finally showed up, scoring 10 points in the final seven minutes of the second quarter after the reigning NBA MVP went scoreless in the first quarter. Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng also had 10 points each for Chicago.

Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 14 points on six-for-10 shooting, his injured right wrist not appearing to bother him, but he also had five turnovers while continuing to feel out his team's new offense under first-year Coach Mike Brown. Josh McRoberts, starting at power forward with Andrew Bynum beginning to serve his four-game suspension for committing a flagrant foul in last season's playoffs, had four points, five rebounds and two assists.

Pau Gasol, shifting over to center in Bynum's absence, had 10 points for the Lakers. Guard Steve Blake added a boost off the bench, scoring nine points while making all three of his shots.

Bulls 22, Lakers 20 (end of first quarter)

Kobe Bryant's wrist seemed fine, but there was something not right with Derrick Rose in the first quarter of the Lakers' game against the Bulls at Staples Center.

The Chicago point guard did not have a point, missing his only shot, and collected one assist and no rebounds.

Bryant had six points on two-for-five shooting for the Lakers, who lost an eight-point lead when their second unit came onto the floor late in the quarter.

Center Joakim Noah had six points for the Bulls, who closed the quarter on a 12-2 run highlighted by guard C.J. Watson's three-pointer.

Pau Gasol had eight points on four-for-seven shooting for the Lakers.


Kobe Bryant was spotted taking left-handed shots before the Lakers' final exhibition game Wednesday against the Clippers after injuring his right wrist two days earlier, but he'll be back to shooting with his preferred hand when the Lakers take on the Chicago Bulls this afternoon at Staples Center, Lakers Coach Mike Brown said.

Brown said Bryant was impressive shooting left-handed in practice last week after tearing a ligament in his wrist while trying to break his fall against the Clippers on Monday.

"It was a sight to see," Brown said of Bryant shooting with his other hand. "You couldn't tell [any difference in accuracy]. I thought he was messing around at first until they kept going in. I was like, 'Whoa.' "

How did Bryant look when he went back to shooting with his right hand?

"He was good," Brown said. "Knock on wood. I'm seeing the ball go in and I'm waiting for them to start coming up short. I went to talk to him and his hand was swollen a couple of days after the game. I said, 'Kobe, man, that doesn't look too good.' He goes, 'Nah, nah, it's fine. I just have to figure out the right change I need to make on my shot for the ball to go in.'

"I'm like, 'OK, good, whatever.' "

--Ben Bolch

Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant has the ball stripped by Bulls guard Ronnie Brewer as teammate Omar Asik helps on defense in the first half Sunday at Staples Center. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times