Pau Gasol scored 24 of his season-high 34 points in the first half, Andrew Bynum added 18 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots, and the Lakers rebounded from their first loss of the season with a 116-109 victory over the Bulls on Tuesday night.
“We wanted to go inside, and we did,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. “We just kept rolling. We had a size advantage.”
The Lakers scored 64 points in the paint, with Gasol shooting 14-of-21 and Bynum going 5-of-10.
“It was written up at the beginning of the game,” Gasol said, nodding toward the greaseboard in the Lakers’ locker room. “Me and Andrew, it’s hard to match up. I think we should make a consistent effort to do that every game. You’ve got two guys who can produce. They’re easy looks, 10-footers— high-percentage shots.”
Gasol’s previous season high was 22 points—two fewer than he scored in the first half of this game.
“We wanted to play a little better, and we did that,” Bryant said. “We shot the ball a lot better than we did last game.”
The Lakers shot 47 percent compared to 42 percent against the Pistons.
Odom said it was important for the Lakers to bounce back after losing to the Pistons, but added: ‘This game is behind us that quick. It’s time to move on.”
The Lakers will be awfully busy the rest of the month. After playing nine games in 23 days to begin the season, they’ll play six games in 11 days starting Thursday night in Phoenix.
With Bryant on the bench, Chicago rallied from a 19-point deficit early in the fourth quarter to draw within 10 on a twisting layup by Rose with 4:08 remaining. But that’s as close as the Bulls would get until the outcome had been decided.
Bryant made his first appearance of the final period with 3:50 remaining and made a 3-pointer on the Lakers’ first possession, helping to keep them safely in front. He wound up playing just 1:21 in the final period and 30:32 in the game.
The Lakers used their size advantage to block 11 shots, and forced 22 turnovers while committing 15.
“I thought we forced some things inside, and their guys are so long that they’re going to block some shots,” Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said. “We made a couple of bad judgments going up, and you’re not going to go over those guys very often because they’re so long. You’ve got to get into their body and be physical. It was kind of an up-tempo game at times and we got a little sloppy with the basketball.”
Rookie Derrick Rose led Chicago (5-6) with 25 points and nine assists while committing just two turnovers. Ben Gordon added 23 points and Aaron Gray had 11 for the Bulls, who are winless in four road games.
“They’ve got two 7-footers down there that are real mobile,” Rose said. “We were swinging the ball but just couldn’t hit open shots. They’ll fall any other time.
“They are a good team and they locked down. They’ve been in these situations before, they’re used to it.”
Bryant scored seven points during a 12-2 run to start the second half, giving the Lakers a 73-58 lead. Chicago drew within eight before Bynum scored six in a row and Bryant added a 3-pointer, making it 82-65. It was 90-74 entering the final period.
Bryant was held scoreless until hitting a jumper with 8:18 left in the second quarter, triggering a 21-4 run that gave the Lakers a 57-40 lead, and they were on top the rest of the way. Bryant scored eight points and Gasol six during the spurt.
The Bulls responded by outscoring the Lakers 16-4 during the remainder of the second quarter, making it 61-56 at halftime.
Gasol shot 7-of-9 while scoring 18 points in the first quarter, which ended with Los Angeles on top 30-29.
The 21-year-old Bynum got the 1,000th rebound of his career in the fourth quarter, becoming the eighth-youngest player in NBA history to reach that milestone. … Jackson has a 12-5 record against the Bulls since becoming coach of the Lakers in 1999. He coached the Bulls to six NBA championships before stepping down following the 1997-98 season. … … The game was the opener of a seven-game road trip for the Bulls that finishes Nov. 30 in Philadelphia. It’s called the annual circus trip because a circus comes to the United Center while they’re out of town. … The Lakers play in Phoenix on Thursday night before finishing November with five straight home games. … A moment of silence was observed before the game in memory of Hall of Fame coach Pete Newell, who died Monday at age 93. Newell served as Lakers general manager from 1972-76. … Rose has scored in double figures in each of his 11 games with the Bulls. He’s scored at least 20 points in five games and led the Bulls in scoring five times.