LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kirk Hinrich scored 19 points, Joakim Noah had 18 points and 13 rebounds, and the Chicago Bulls held off the stubborn Los Angeles Lakers 92-86 on Sunday after nearly blowing a 19-point lead.
Taj Gibson added 18 points for the Bulls, who never trailed against an injury-ravaged Lakers squad missing Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Jordan Farmar, Nick Young, Jodie Meeks and Xavier Henry.
Gasol, who had a season-high 19 rebounds the previous time the teams met, missed his fourth straight game because of a groin strain.
Center Chris Kaman scored a season-high 27 points off the bench for the Lakers, who won their previous two games following a 3-19 slide that buried them in the race for a Western Conference playoff spot.
Point guard Steve Nash, playing his third game after missing 39 because of a nerve problem in his back, had eight points in 21-plus minutes before departing with 5 minutes left in the third quarter because of irritation in his left leg.
The 18-year veteran and two-time MVP, who celebrated his 40th birthday on Friday with a team-high 19 points in a 112-98 victory at Philadelphia, was hit on the same leg he fractured last season.
Gibson, whose buzzer-beating layup in overtime gave the Bulls a 102-100 victory over the Lakers on Jan. 20 at Chicago, led the Bulls to a 52-46 halftime lead with 16 points. He made his seventh start of the season as Carlos Boozer missed his second straight game with a left calf strain.
The Bulls, who finished their road trip 3-3, opened the game with a 10-0 run while the Lakers missed their first six shots — including an airball by Wesley Johnson on a 3-point attempt from 27 feet. Gibson’s reverse layup increased the Bulls’ margin to 15 before Los Angeles scored the next 12 points to slice the deficit to 42-39 with 5:55 left in the second quarter.
Chicago built its lead back up to 72-53, its biggest of the game, with a 15-5 run capped by Hinrich’s 3-pointer with 3 minutes left in the third quarter.
Down by 13 with 6:37 to play, the Lakers narrowed the gap to 88-84 after Steve Blake stole the ball from Heinrich and Kaman fed Johnson for a slam dunk that capped a 13-4 run with 48.3 seconds left. But D.J. Augustin, who had 15 points off the bench, sank four free throws in the final 21 seconds to help seal the victory.
NOTES: Kaman’s point total was two off his career high. … The Bulls’ starters outscored the Lakers starters 73-24. … Chicago is 19-20 since G Derrick Rose went down with his second major knee injury in three seasons. He has played only 49 games since the start of the 2011-12. … The Lakers have used 25 different starting lineups and the Bulls have used 18. … Chicago came in averaging a league-worst 92.1 points, while holding opponents to a league-low 93.0 per game. … The Lakers ended the first half with a stellar passing play started by Steve Blake, in which four different players touched the ball on the fast break and Jordan Hill was left standing all alone under the basket for a layup with .06 seconds on the clock.