Daily Confidential

Kobe Bryant played well after four days' rest for his surgically repaired right knee. He tries to have another such performance after only one day off Sunday when the Los Angeles Lakers host the struggling Chicago Bulls.

Bryant had one of his best performances of the season Friday, totaling 31 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists as the Lakers (6-3) defeated the Toronto Raptors 107-100. He made 10-of-19 shots from the field and 11-of-12 from the foul line as Los Angeles improved to 2-1 on a five-game homestand that concludes Tuesday against its co-tenants at the Staples Center, the Los Angeles Clippers.

``My leg feels good and I started getting some of that explosion,'' Bryant said. ``I was able to turn it up. Four days off helped a lot.''

In the two games Bryant has played with more than one day of rest, he has averaged 27.0 points while shooting 52.9 percent (18-for-34). In the four games with only one day of rest, Bryant has shot 46.7 percent and averaged 18 points.

Bryant also became the youngest player in NBA history to reach 17,000 points in Friday's victory. He scored the historic point in the second quarter with a 16-foot jumper from the right baseline off a pass from rookie Jordan Farmar.

``It's cool, man,'' said Bryant, who accomplished the feat at 28 years, 86 days of age. ``It puts things in perspective. Twenty-eight is the new 38.''

The Bulls (3-6) are 0-3 on their annual circus trip and happy to get out of Texas after Friday's 100-83 defeat to the San Antonio Spurs. Ben Gordon scored 21 points before suffering a sprained thumb, but is expected to be available for this game.

``They think it's a sprain,'' Gordon said after viewing X-rays with physicians.

Gordon has played well coming off the bench since coach Scott Skiles took him out of the starting five before the trip, averaging 25 points and shooting 44.6 percent from the field. He had averaged only 8.3 points in starting Chicago's first six games before Skiles made the switch.

While Gordon has been consistent offensively, Skiles has grown concerned about his team's defense. The Bulls allowed the Spurs to shoot 51.4 percent in Friday's loss, and opponents are shooting 48.3 percent from the field during Chicago's three-game losing streak.

``Our defense was very suspect tonight,'' Skiles said. ``We let (Tony) Parker and (Beno) Udrih penetrate at will.''

Over the last eight seasons, the Bulls are 4-44 when forced to leave the United Center due to the circus.

Bulls center Ben Wallace has played most of the last two games with a heavily taped right biceps after suffering an injury in Thursday's loss at Houston.

The road team won both meetings between these teams last season. The Bulls posted a 93-80 victory at Los Angeles as Chris Duhon totaled 21 points and eight assists. Bryant, who scored 43 points in the loss, has averaged 25.8 points in 16 lifetime games against the Bulls.

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