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Sunday, December 25, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Bulls 88, Lakers 87

By Nick Friedell

LOS ANGELES -- Let's take a quick look at how Chicago Bulls squeaked past the Los Angeles Lakers 88-87 on Sunday for a season-opening win at Staples Center:

How it happened: Derrick Rose happened. Again. The 23-year-old scored the game winning basket with just 4.8 seconds left. Luol Deng followed that up by stuffing Kobe Bryant at the buzzer. Rose finished with 22 points. The Bulls trailed by 10 with little more than three minutes to play and managed to come back thanks to missed free throws by the Lakers and the determination by Rose to finish it off at the end.

What it means: If looks could kill, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau might have demolished his entire team in the final 24 minutes, but then Rose, and the Bulls defense, came through in the clutch one more time. This game will serve as a teaching moment for Thibodeau. The Bulls were understandably rusty, but they definitely have a lot of work to do on both ends of the floor. Still, the veteran coach will take a win like that in the opener. Rose wanted to show the whole country that the Bulls were no fluke last season. That's exactly what he did at the end of the game.

Stat of the night: The Bulls had more turnovers (six) than field goals (five) in the fourth quarter. (Thanks to ESPN Stats & Information research for the assist.)

What's next: The Bulls are right back at it Monday night when they take on the Golden State Warriors in Oakland.