Lakers Win Fourth Straight On Friday
L.A. Lakers 93, Chicago 80
CHICAGO, Dec. 9 (Ticker) -- Kobe Bryant continues to learn that sharing the ball leads to wins.
Bryant collected 23 points and eight assists as the Los Angeles Lakers won their fourth straight game and spoiled ceremonies honoring Scottie Pippen with a 93-80 triumph over the Chicago Bulls.
"It has just been patience," Bryant said. "We have said from the beginning that it is a process. This offense is a complicated one, especially for a young team. We have been patient with each other and we continue to work hard, things are starting to come together a little bit."
Despite scoring just one point in the opening period Friday, Bryant dished out five assists as Los Angeles took a 33-19 lead into the second quarter thanks to 11 points from Smush Parker.
Lamar Odom scored 19 points for the Lakers, who never trailed, ruining a festive atmosphere in the United Center. Bryant also tied his season best with nine rebounds.
Kirk Hinrich scored a season-high 26 points for the Bulls, who cut the deficit to 72-68 entering the final period. Michael Sweetney added 22 points for Chicago, which was playing without leading scorer Ben Gordon (sprained right knee).
Brian Cook, Bryant and Laron Profit scored six points apiece in the fourth quarter as the Lakers pulled away. Cook scored 16 points.
"I can score in bunches sometimes," Cook said. "(Bulls center) Tyson Chandler is a roamer on defense because he likes to go block shots, so we just spread the floor out. I was then able to get to my spots and Kobe found me."
"We would make a bucket and cut into the lead and then didn't get into them back on defense," Sweetney said. "Kobe Bryant then became Kobe Bryant. He is going to get his shots."
Bryant was also a pest on the defensive end by holding Chris Duhon and Andres Nocioni to a combined six points.
"I take pride in my defense, "Bryant said. "I like getting up on people and make them uncomfortable. If they are going to score, they have to make a big play to get around me."
At halftime, Pippen, one of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players and a key member of Chicago's six championship teams in the 1990s, had his No. 33 retired by the Bulls and hoisted to the rafters. Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who coached those teams, took part in the ceremonies.
"I don't know if we rode the ceremony to victory or just caught them flat," Jackson said. "There is something to be learned from it. The camaraderie between the players who won all these championships was very evident."
"It was an honor to be here and see it in person." Bryant said.