Gameday: Lakers 87, Bulls 88

GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Chicago Bulls 22 34 12 20 88
Play by Play Los Angeles Lakers 20 29 20 18 87

Bulls rally to stun Lakers on Rose's winner


Posted Dec 25 2011 5:19PM

LOS ANGELES (AP) Derrick Rose scored 22 points and hit a short go-ahead jumper with 4.8 seconds to play, and the Chicago Bulls rallied from an 11-point deficit in the final four minutes for an 88-87 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.

Luol Deng scored 21 points and blocked Kobe Bryant's short shot right before the buzzer as the Bulls hung on for a thrilling finish to both clubs' first Christmas meeting.

Bryant scored 28 points and committed eight turnovers while playing with a torn wrist ligament for the Lakers, who nearly shook off their tumultuous preseason for a surprising win. Instead, Los Angeles was outscored 17-5 in the final 3:36.

Deng scored nine points in the fourth quarter for the Bulls, including a three-point play and two free throws in the final 45 seconds as Chicago snapped a five-game road losing streak against the Lakers.

Carlos Boozer had 15 points for the Bulls, who have designs on a championship run after leading the NBA with 62 regular-season victories last season. Chicago struggled mightily against Brown's new defensive schemes for the Lakers in the second half, managing just 25 percent shooting (12 for 48) - but Rose and Deng bailed out the Bulls.

Bryant couldn't finish strong in his NBA-record 14th Christmas Day appearance for the Lakers, who had an 11-point lead with 3:45 to play before Chicago pulled within 87-86 on Deng's free throws with 20.4 seconds left.

Bryant wore a compression sleeve on his right arm while playing without a brace on his right wrist after getting hurt last week. He appeared to have trouble handling the ball, but displayed a fairly smooth jump shot and his usual superb footwork.

Pau Gasol added 14 points for the Lakers, but was held scoreless in the fourth quarter while committing four fouls. Los Angeles also played without suspended center Andrew Bynum and departed sixth man Lamar Odom in the debut of coach Mike Brown, who replaced 11-time champion Phil Jackson.

Chicago finally awoke after Los Angeles pushed its fourth-quarter lead to 82-71 with 3:45 to play. The Bulls' 10-3 run was abetted by four straight missed free throws by the Lakers before Bryant hit a short fadeaway with 54 seconds left. Deng's three-point play trimmed the lead to 87-84, and Bryant fouled Deng after missing his own shot on the Lakers' possession.

Rose opened his first season as the reigning MVP by taking just five shots in the first half before taking charge late. The youngest MVP in league history also got a five-year, $94 million contract extension four days ago.

The Lakers' 13th straight Christmas appearance was the second straight for the Bulls, who returned to the holiday slate last season for the first time since the last of Michael Jordan's six championship campaigns in 1997.

While the Bulls remained cohesive and consistent in the offseason, nobody knows what to expect from the 16-time champion Lakers after their tumultuous offseason.

Brown said he only installed about a third of his defense-based system during the truncated training camp, and he had to make further changes when the club abruptly traded Odom to Dallas no players in return after failing to acquire Chris Paul from New Orleans.

The Staples Center crowd murmured quizzically when Los Angeles announced a starting lineup including second-year pro Devin Ebanks and newcomer Josh McRoberts, who's filling in while Bynum sits out four games for bad behavior in the Mavericks' Game 4 sweep of the Lakers in the second round last spring.

Both teams gave away small leads in the first half, but Rose's 3-pointer kick-started a 9-2 run in the final 1:07, and he put the Bulls up 56-47 at halftime with assists on Deng's 3-pointer and three-point play in the final seconds.

Los Angeles began the second half with an 18-7 run, clicking on both ends while claiming a one-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.

NOTES: Bryant's 14th Christmas game in his 16 NBA seasons surpassed the record jointly held by Earl Monroe, Dolph Schayes and Shaquille O'Neal. ... Richard Hamilton scored six points in his first start for the Bulls, who signed the veteran shooter 11 days earlier. ... Veteran Lakers Matt Barnes, Luke Walton and Jason Kapono didn't get into the game. ... Fans near courtside included Kanye West, Adam Levine, Terrell Owens, Frank Robinson and Maria Shriver.

Copyright 2011 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited

View More Photos

Points Bryant 28, 11-23 FG
Rebounds Gasol 8, 2 OFF 6 DEF
Assists Bryant 6
Steals Bryant/Fisher/World Peace 2
Blocks Gasol 3


Mike Brown:
On tonight’s game:

Well, that was quite a game. I thought you saw two teams compete for 48 minutes. We’ve got to give the Bulls credit, they came out and did kind of what they wanted to do in the first half offensively. I thought our guys stepped it up and came out in the second half and showed how capable they are of playing defense and we took the lead. And we played pretty good basketball until right down the stretch. Obviously there were a lot of things that went wrong down the stretch where we didn’t quite finish the game. I mean, we had a little bit of trouble closing quarters but I thought the way they closed the third was definitely encouraging. Up and down the stretch, you name it, whether it was missed free throws, or turnovers, or unnecessary fouls, or blown defense assignments, we had all of that in a 50 second span. You know, the bottom line is, you’re not going to win ball games if you play that way down the stretch. Like I said, I give the Bulls credit, but we did some things to help them get that W tonight

Kobe Bryant:
On what he liked about the game:

“I saw a lot of positive things. Defensively we were terrific. We did a good job and we’re just going to get better. We’re going to be very good defensively. Offensively, it was the turnovers and we just have to get used to spacing and where guys want to be in certain spots and getting out of old habits. But that will work itself out.”

On the last play of the game:

"[Luol Deng] did a good job with the rotations and he came over and made a good block.”

Pau Gasol:
On giving up the late lead:

“We couldn’t finish it. We worked so hard to be ahead and to win and at the end a turnover here and couple missed shots here and there. Those hurt. They made us pay.”

On why the game was disheartening:

“It happens sometimes. It happens sometimes. You work hard every game and a game like this one where we had a pretty good chance to put it under control close to the end. it would have been positive to win it. But we have to shake it off and think about tomorrow and try to redeem ourselves tomorrow and get a good win.”

Josh McRoberts:
Lakers Josh Mcroberts on not playing a finesse game:

“That’s not really my style but I think, I don’t know, I thinks that’s how I’m going to play. I tgot a lot of room for improvement. I can get a lot better and play better”

Steve Blake:
On what went wrong:

“It’s tough to say right now. So much went on during the game its hard to process my thoughts right now. Turnovers, balls bouncing the wrong way and you don’t get them. You know a bunch of little things."

Luol Deng:
On Kobe’s last shot:

“I really trust our defense and I trust our bigs. I wanted to crowd him (Kobe) so he didn’t have a jump shot. I knew if he drove our bigs were going to be there. That’s exactly what happened. He drove and our bigs were there. He hesitated a bit and I was able to get back and help.”

Derrick Rose:
On the comeback:

“I told them that we’ve been in this situation before. We have a new team, new players, and a new system. I said they haven’t been in that circumstance yet and we’ve been there. Thank god we got a couple steals, made a couple great plays, and we won the game.”

On his game-winning shot:

“It was really a floater, that’s just something I’m used to doing if I’m going to my right hand. They let me get to my right hand and that’s how it got up.”

Tom Thibodeau
On Kobe Bryant’s last play when he got the ball out on top:

“I think that at the end of the game you want to try to keep the ball away from him so we didn’t do a good job in that aspect. And then the big thing is to make him play in a crowd, you don’t want him to get the shot…I thought for the most part he played terrific, Kobe is sensational. He’s made one big play after the next. The thing that I like about him is that he has the courage to take and it’s the same thing with Derek. In those situations they want that shot and they don’t shy away from it, they look forward to it and that’s what I admire about Derek.”



LOS ANGELES (AP) A bizarre offseason for the Los Angeles Lakers has left many unsure what to expect from one of the NBA's most storied franchises. Expectations couldn't get much higher for reigning MVP Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls despite not much of an offseason stir.

It appears a banged-up Kobe Bryant will play in the season opener as the Lakers host Rose and the Bulls in a much-anticipated Christmas Day matchup.

After failing to work out a trade for Orlando's Dwight Howard and seeing its deal for star point guard Chris Paul - who ultimately landed with the crosstown Clippers - rejected by the league, Los Angeles enters the season with plenty of uncertainty.

Former coach and 11-time champion Phil Jackson's retirement will certainly take time getting used to, and sending Lamar Odom - a key member of the 2008-09 and 2009-10 title teams - to Dallas for a 2012 first-round pick only fueled the frenzy surrounding the Lakers.

"I've never quite seen something like this unfold," said Bryant, who expects to play despite recently tearing a ligament in his right wrist. "Phil (Jackson) called it years ago. It's kind of become somewhat of a mess, but I think everybody is glad that it's behind them and everybody can move and just talk about the teams and the season."

Despite going 57-25 last season to claim a fourth consecutive Pacific Division crown, the Lakers were ultimately swept by the Mavericks in last season's conference semifinals.

Though it was rumored four-time All-Star Pau Gasol was upset about being part of the Paul deal that fell through, his presence along with that of Bryant still makes a 17th ring for the Lakers a possibility. However, getting accustomed to new coach Mike Brown's system will be a big adjustment as well.

"It's going to be different, but we still have a lot of talent," Gasol said. "We can still have a great season."

So can Chicago, which likes its chances of contending for a title behind Rose.

Averaging 25.0 points and 7.7 assists to become the youngest MVP in league history, Rose - who recently turned 23 - led the Bulls to a league-best 62-20 record in 2010-11 before they fell to Miami in the conference finals.

Chicago hardly changed the roster, with the notable exception of Richard Hamilton's addition, and the strong returning corps of Rose, Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng has Bulls fans excited about what lies ahead.

"Our goal is to win a championship, and I think that we have a decent shot with the guys that we have coming back," said Rose, fresh off signing a five-year, $94.8 million extension. "I have a lot of belief in my teammates, and I know that they have a lot of belief in me and a lot of confidence in me as a player. That's all we need."

Chicago stands to greatly benefit from the acquisition of Hamilton, who signed a three-year, $15 million deal after being bought out by Detroit. The 12-year veteran has averaged 17.7 points for his career and figures to provide the Bulls with a consistent scoring threat at shooting guard, something they clearly lacked last season.

"They were already a great team before me, and I felt it was an opportunity where I could help," Hamilton said.

While Chicago will undoubtedly lean on Rose, having Noah and Boozer stay healthy and contribute consistently also will be key. They missed a combined 57 games last season, and Chicago went 24-5 with both big men in the lineup.

"I felt like we had the team - we still do - to win the whole thing," said Deng, who averaged 17.4 points last season. "But going into this year, we've got to focus on us - what we've learned from it and how we can get better. We can't just focus on one team. There are a lot of good teams in the East, but we've just got to focus on where we've got to get better and what we've got to do this year."

Noah and Boozer won't have to worry about defending Lakers center Andrew Bynum, who will begin serving what is now a four-game suspension for making unnecessary and excessive contact with Dallas' J.J. Barea in the playoffs. Bynum's punishment was reduced by one game due to the shortened season.

His absence surely won't make things easier on Brown, who planned to move Metta World Peace to the bench this season but could start the former Ron Artest while Bynum is out.

"I'm going into the season knowing that this is my team, and I'm happy about it," Brown said. "I'm going to coach this team right here, and I'll let the perceptions swell. At the end of the season, we'll see how it all shook out."

The Lakers had taken seven straight meetings in this series before losing the most recent one, 88-84 in Chicago last Dec. 10.

Copyright 2011 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited

Game Announcements
  • Andrew Bynum will miss today's game as he serves the first of his four game suspension. Press Release
  #3 Ebanks SF #9 Deng  
  #6 McRoberts PF #5 Boozer  
  #16 Gasol C #13 Noah  
  #24 Bryant SG #11 Brewer  
  #2 Fisher PG #1 Rose  

Lakers Kobe Bryant
(torn lunotriquetral ligament, right wrist) is day-to-day
Devin Ebanks(sore right foot) is probable.
Derrick Caracter (torn lateral meniscus, left knee) is out.


Game 1: 12/25 - CHI @ LAL



The Lakers split last season’s series with the Bulls 1-1 after sweeping each of the previous three season series with Chicago (2-0). This will be the 140th meeting between the two teams with the Lakers leading the all-time series 84-55. The Lakers have won 7 of their last 8 against Chicago and are 8-2 against the Bulls in their last 10 overall games. In Chicago, the Lakers have gone 5-5 in their last 10 games at the United Center against the Bulls but have won 3 of their last 4 in the Windy City. At STAPLES Center, the Lakers are 10-2 all-time against the Bulls and have won 8 of their last 9. In recent series history, on November 18, 2007, the Lakers defeated the Bulls by 28 points, surpassing the old series record of 27 established back on February 18, 1968. One year earlier, the Lakers held the Bulls to a series-low 72 points November 19, 2006 at STAPLES Center. In 26 career games (22 starts) against Chicago, Kobe Bryant is averaging 24.7 points with high games of 43 in Los Angeles (11/20/05) and 42 in Chicago (12/15/09). Additionally, forward Metta World Peace was drafted by the Bulls with the 16th overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft, playing 2 1⁄2 seasons with Chicago and earning All-Rookie Second Team honors his rookie year. Bulls forwards Taj Gibson (2006-09) and Brian Scalabrine (1998-2001) both played collegiately at Southern California.


For the 19th time since moving to Los Angeles prior to the 1960-61 season, the Lakers will be opening the regular season at home. In those games, the Lakers have a record of 14-4. Overall, Los Angeles has a mark of 36-15 in their 51 REGULAR SEASON openers. The Lakers have won 7-of-their-last-8 opening night games and are 17-2 in their last 19 opening night games overall dating back to 1992. This will be the 6th consecutive season that the Lakers have opened the regular season at home, most recently defeating the Houston Rockets 112-110 on opening night 10/26/10. The Lakers have opened the regular season against the Chicago Bulls on three occasions, all on the road, going 3-0 in those games: 10/17/67 at Chicago (107-105), 10/16/70 at Chicago (106-102) and 10/9/73 at Chicago (117-97).


In HOME OPENERS (first home game of the year), the Lakers are 34-17 since moving to Los Angeles, most recently defeating the Houston Rockets 112-110 at STAPLES Center 10/26/10. With their victory over the Rockets last season, the Lakers improved to 16-3 in their last 19 HOME openers overall. The Lakers have opened their home schedule against the Bulls three times (never on opening night), going 1-2 in those meetings: 10/21/66 vs. Chicago (101-108, loss), 10/22/71 vs. Chicago (106-113, loss) and 10/16/79 vs. Chicago (105-96, win).


In 1947, the NBA played its first games on Christmas Day (3 total) and through 2010, the league has seen a total of 212 Christmas Day games in all. The Lakers relationship with Christmas Day games dates back to 1949 and the team’s second season in the NBA. On December 25, 1949, the Lakers hosted Ft. Wayne, defeating the Pistons 72-58 in the team’s first ever Christmas day game. Now in their 64th NBA season, the Lakers have played on Christmas Day 37 times, second only to the New York Knicks (46), going 20-17 in those games. With 20 victories, the Lakers trail New York by one for most Christmas Day victories by a team in league history. Overall, the Lakers are 12-8 all-time when home for the holidays while going 8-9 in away games.

This will be the Lakers 13th straight Christmas Day game dating back to 1999, with Los Angeles going 4-8 in that span. Among Christmas Day opponents, Phoenix (6), Detroit (5), Boston (4) and Miami (4) top the list of teams the Lakers have faced on December 25th. This will be the Lakers FIRST Christmas Day game against the Bulls.

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