Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 11/20

Game 1: Sunday, November 20th
Game 2: Friday, December 9th

Lakers 93

(10-9, 6-4 away)

Bulls 80

(9-9, 4-4 home)

Coverage: WGN

7:30 PM ET, December 9, 2005

United Center, Chicago, IL

1 2 3 4 T
LAL 33 14 25 2193
CHI 19 18 31 1280

Top Performers

LAL: K. Bryant 23 Pts, 9 Reb, 8 Ast, 1 Stl

Chi: M. Sweetney 22 Pts, 12 Reb, 1 Ast, 4 Blk

Bulls fall to Lakers after retiring Pippen's No. 33

CHICAGO (AP) -- Little by little, Kobe Bryant sees it coming together. The work ethic is there and, lately, so are the results.

Bryant scored 23 points, Lamar Odom added 19 and the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Chicago Bulls 93-80 on Friday night for their fourth straight victory.

"It's just been patience," Bryant said. "We've said from the beginning, it's a process. This offense is a complicated one, especially for a young team, and we've been patient with each other."

Bryant waited out a rough first half in which he scored five points and wound up shooting 9-of-21, grabbing nine rebounds and finishing with eight assists.

Brian Cook scored 16 points, shooting 8-of-11, and Smush Parker finished with 13 points, 11 in the first quarter.

"I think we're getting better every day," Cook said. "We have great chemistry between all of us, one through 12. We just need to keep it going, keep making each other better."

On a night when they retired Scottie Pippen's No. 33, the Bulls were flat early on. They tied the game in the third quarter but could not pull ahead.

Kirk Hinrich finished with 26 points and seven assists after missing Wednesday's victory at Orlando with a concussion, which he sustained two nights earlier against Dallas when a driving Dirk Nowitzki elbowed him in the face. Mike Sweetney added 22 points, 12 rebounds and a career-high four blocks.

But it was a rough night for the Bulls, who hit 31-of-80 shots and were outrebounded 45-37.

"At times, it seemed like we were playing in quicksand," Hinrich said. "For whatever reason, we didn't have it tonight."

Center Tyson Chandler, who remains bothered by fatigue, had just one point and five rebounds in 28 minutes.

The Bulls' Ben Gordon missed the game after spraining his right knee during Wednesday's win. He does not expect to play Saturday at Washington.

"I'm just going to take as much time as I need to heal," said Gordon, who was tied with Luol Deng for the team lead with 15.2 points per game.

After back-to-back jumpers by Hinrich pulled the Bulls within 84-78, the Lakers scored nine of the game's final 11 points -- getting three baskets by Bryant and a 3-pointer by Odom.

After scoring 12 points in the third quarter, Bryant sat the first 7:12 of the fourth. He hit 3-of-7 shots over the final 4:48.

"No, not at all," Bryant said when asked if he was surprised he sat that long. "As long as we can go out there and execute, we will be fine. We just move the ball, cut with a purpose -- we'll be OK no matter who is out there."

The Bulls allowed 33 points in the first quarter, climbed back into it as the Lakers missed their first 11 shots of the second but trailed 47-37 at halftime.

The Bulls used a 10-2 run to pull within 57-56 midway through the third. After trailing the entire game, they tied it at 63 on Sweetney's three-point play with 2:47 left in the quarter.

Bryant, who scored 43 in a loss to the Bulls on Nov. 20, broke the tie with two free throws, and Devean George hit a 3 to make it a five-point game.

Laron Profit's layup early in the fourth made it 80-72, and a jumper and basket by Cook boosted the Lakers' lead to 84-74.

Los Angeles ended the first quarter with a 14-2 run that made it 33-19, with Odom's one-handed, driving dunk bringing the bench to its feet. After scoring a season-low 11 points against Toronto on Wednesday, Bryant had just one in the first quarter.

"He's a great player, obviously," Hinrich said. "That's all you can hope to do is contain him because he's capable of putting up a huge number."

Game notes

Lakers center Kwame Brown remains out indefinitely with a sore right hamstring and Achilles' tendon. ... Chandler seemed relieved and frustrated before the game. Although tests taken Thursday revealed no damage to his lungs, he's scheduled to undergo more tests next week to pinpoint the cause of his fatigue. "The lungs are fine, that's the most important thing," he said. ... The Lakers' 33 points in the first quarter were one off their season high for that period and tied the season high for a Bulls opponent.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 93 80
FGM-FGA 38-84 (.452) 31-80 (.388)
3PM-3PA 7-18 (.389) 2-15 (.133)
FTM-FTA 10-15 (.667) 16-20 (.800)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 10-45 8-37
Assists 27 18
Turnovers 11 10
Steals 6 7
Blocks 4 5
Fast Break Points 2 6
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (1/0) 16 (0/0)
Largest Lead 14 0

Top Performers

Los Angeles
Kobe Bryant Bryant
Points: 23
Reb: 9
Ast: 8
Stl: 1
Blk: 0
Michael Sweetney Sweetney
Points: 22
Reb: 12
Ast: 1
Stl: 0
Blk: 4