CHICAGO, March 13 (Ticker) -- Kobe Bryant's injured shoulder apparently is strong enough to carry the Los Angeles Lakers' offense down the stretch.

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Bryant scored 12 of his 35 points in the final five-plus minutes to lift the Lakers to an 88-81 victory over the Chicago Bulls, who have lost six straight games.

At full strength for the first time in nearly three months, the Lakers were coming off a loss at Minnesota on Friday. They were in danger of dropping consecutive games for the first time since Jan. 19-22.

Again wearing a protective shirt beneath his jersey to harness his sprained right shoulder, Bryant looked as sharp as he has all season. He took over late in the fourth quarter, turning back a rally by the Bulls.

"It's fun being out there," Bryant said. "I think about how much fun it is to play the game, I don't want to think about the pain. It's fun being out there, especially in the fourth quarter."

Chicago had pulled within a hoop with 5:25 left when Bryant made a floating layup and a drive for a 78-72 lead with 4:33 to play. After a dunk by Antonio Davis, Bryant drilled a jumper over Kendall Gill and sank a tough lefthanded layup for an 82-74 bulge with 1:48 to go.

"The flow of the game was coming," said Bryant, who made 12-of-25 shots. "I made some pretty big shots for us. They were all falling."

"I don't think we were doing anything wrong," Bulls coach Scott Skiles said. "He was just rising over us and making shots. We had a couple times where we did not have a hand up. Other than that, he just hit pretty tough shots."

The Bulls closed to 82-79 in the final minute before Bryant sank a jumper from the left wing with 35 seconds remaining. He added two free throws to seal it 16 seconds later.

Shaquille O'Neal had 16 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks and Karl Malone added 10 points and 13 rebounds for the Lakers, who had lost their previous two visits to Chicago.

Despite the late surge by Bryant, Lakers coach Phil Jackson was not overjoyed.

"I think Kobe is thinking more about shooting," Jackson said. "(He) really has to do more what comes naturally. He got into it and made some shots down the stretch."

Eddy Curry scored 16 points and rookie Kirk Hinrich added 15 and 12 assists for the Bulls, who undid themselves with poor free-throw shooting. Chicago made just 16-of-31 foul shots, including 0-of-8 by Tyson Chandler.

"I'm in a process of tweaking my style," said Chandler, a 73 percent foul shooter. "I've been watching video of how I shot the ball in high school. But I haven't quite got there yet."

Two missed free throws by Chandler stalled a fourth-quarter surge by the Bulls.

"After I missed the first four in a row, I just tried to guide them after that, and it killed me," he said.

O'Neal picked up his fourth foul midway through the third quarter and the Lakers down, 56-53. He stayed in the game and LA rallied to take the lead. The 7-1 superstar had two baskets early in the final period, widening the advantage to 74-66.