NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, December 10th (All times eastern)
Los Angeles Lakers (16-6) at Chicago Bulls (12-8), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - A classic rivalry between the Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls will continue this evening from the United Center, as both teams put three-game winning streaks on the line.
Los Angeles won the first meeting, 98-91, on Nov. 23 this season at Staples Center behind 21 points from both Shannon Brown and Lamar Odom. Kobe Bryant netted 20 points in that one to push LA's winning streak in this series to seven straight games. The two-time defending NBA champion Lakers sport a 12-3 mark in the previous 15 matchups between the teams and are unbeaten in their last three trips to the Windy City.
The Lakers have won three in a row overall since a season-worst four-game losing streak and opened a seven-game road trip with Wednesday's 87-86 triumph over the local rival Clippers. Derek Fisher made a driving layup as time expired and Bryant scored 24 points for the Lakers, who improved to 6-4 as the visitor this season and got 16 points from Brown. Bryant sank the initial go- ahead basket with 22.8 seconds off one of four Ron Artest steals.
"When I caught the ball I knew I had three seconds left," said Fisher, who has played in 435 consecutive regular season games dating back to April 15, 2005 -- the longest consecutive games streak among all active NBA players. "I had to get the ball high off the glass. I was fortunate to get it off in time."
Pau Gasol tallied 10 points and 10 boards in a winning cause. Los Angeles will also visit the Nets, Wizards, Pacers, Sixers and Raptors on the excursion.
Chicago has prevailed in each of its last three games and will kick off a three-game homestand Friday versus the Lakers, Timberwolves and Pacers. It is 7-2 as the host this season.
The Bulls kept their winning ways intact with an 88-83 triumph at Cleveland on Wednesday, as Derrick Rose finished with 29 points and eight assists to lead the way. Joakim Noah notched 13 points and 14 rebounds, while Luol Deng also scored 13 points to go with six boards.
"We're grateful for this win, it just goes onto our record," Rose said. "But we know when we're in this position like this, we have to find ways to just put teams down, step on them and make sure they don't have any confidence to come back."
Deng has scored in double-digits 16 games in a row. Sharpshooter Kyle Korver ended with 12 points and newcomer Carlos Boozer didn't do much with four points and three rebounds in just over 20 minutes of action. Boozer sat the entire fourth quarter. Chicago won despite committing 16 turnovers.
The Bulls are 10-3 this season when they hold their opponents under 100 points.
12/10 11:01:43 ET