Bulls-Lakers Preview

The high-scoring Los Angeles Lakers have been overwhelming
opponents during their current winning streak. They may need to
continue that dominant play to keep their run intact against the
surging Chicago Bulls.

The Lakers seek a fifth consecutive victory Tuesday night when
they host the Bulls, who have been outstanding defensively in
winning five of six.

Los Angeles’ four straight wins have come by an average of 17.3
points, the most recent a 117-89 victory over Golden State on
Sunday. Pau Gasol went 10 for 10 from the field and 8 for 8 from
the free-throw line for 28 points, while adding nine rebounds and
five assists.

He joined Charles Barkley and teammate Matt Barnes as the only
players to have at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists
without missing at least five shots from the field and free-throw

Barnes accomplished the feat Friday in a 112-95 victory over
Minnesota with 24 points, seven rebounds and six assists while
hitting all seven shots – five 3-pointers – and five free

“Matt told me, ‘Welcome to the club,'” Gasol said. “I said,
‘Happy to be in there.’ It’s kind of weird that it happened that
way. It’s weird, but it’s obviously a good sign.”

The blowout of the Warriors allowed coach Phil Jackson to rest
his starters in preparation for Chicago. Kobe Bryant, who scored 20
points, played just over 26 minutes and no one exceeded Gasol’s
30:01 for the Lakers (12-2).

Los Angeles led 95-60 after three quarters.

“It’s very important,” Jackson told the team’s official website.
“(The starters) have that reserve (energy) to go to Tuesday night
if they need it.”

The Lakers lead the NBA with 112.5 points per game, but they may
have a difficult time reaching that number against a Bulls team
that has held seven of its 11 opponents to fewer than 100.

Chicago (7-4) has been particularly good during the past six
games, allowing 92.7 points a contest.

The Bulls, three games into their annual six-game circus road
trip, are coming off an 88-83 comeback victory over Dallas on
Saturday. Joakim Noah scored 10 points and grabbed 17 rebounds for
the Bulls, who held a 59-34 advantage on the boards.

“I can’t go through the motions,” Noah said. “I’ve got to keep
going after the ball. We fought hard even when we were behind.
We’re not a team that gives up.”

Chicago trailed by as many as 12 in the third quarter.

Taj Gibson, who shot 0-for-7 and went scoreless in Thursday’s
103-94 loss to San Antonio, had 17 points and a career-high 18

“Coach knows I’ve been working on my jumper, but he said don’t
rely on jump shots,” Gibson said. “Attack the glass and hit the
boards. I’ve struggled the last two games so he challenged me.”

The Bulls have lost four straight in Los Angeles and six in a
row in the series. The Lakers have averaged 107.7 points in those
six contests.