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NBA Preview from The Sports Network

Tuesday, December 18th (All times eastern)

Los Angeles Lakers (14-9) at Chicago Bulls (8-13), 8:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Lakers begin a four-game road trip when they visit the Chicago Bulls tonight at the United Center.

This is the second and final meeting of the campaign between the clubs. On November 18th, superstar Kobe Bryant needed to score only 18 points as the Lakers crushed the Bulls, 106-78, at the Staples Center

Los Angeles has won three of the last four contests in the series. The Lakers have lost two of three and four of their last six at Chicago.

The Lakers try to win back-to-back games this evening. Bryant collected 32 points and eight rebounds as the Lakers downed the Clippers, 113-92,on Sunday at Staples Center.

Luke Walton ended with 15 points in the win, while Andrew Bynum registered 14 points, nine rebounds and six blocks for the Lakers, who have won five of their last six games overall.

The Lakers are 5-5 on the road this season. They will also visit Cleveland, Philadelphia and New York on the current swing.

The Bulls wrap up a two-game homestand. Luol Deng scored 27 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as Chicago held off the New York Knicks, 101-96, on Friday at the United Center.

Kirk Hinrich had his first triple-double of the season, posting 15 points, 12 rebounds and 14 assists as the Bulls improved to 6-3 in their last nine games overall. Andres Nocioni ended with 17 points, while Ben Gordon scored 11 and Joe Smith netted 10 in the victory.

Chicago is 5-5 as the host this season. The Bulls will visit the Washington Wizards on Wednesday at the Verizon Center and the Boston Celtics on Friday at TD Banknorth Garden.

The Bulls are expected to have forward Tyrus Thomas back in the lineup. He did not play against New York, as he served a one-game suspension handed down by the league. Thomas was suspended for striking Indiana's Troy Murphy in the face during the Pacers 117-102 win over Chicago on December 12 at Conseco Fieldhouse. The 21-year-old Thomas is averaging 6.6 points and 5.1 rebounds per game this season.

12/18 10:35:13 ET

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