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Bulls 95, Lakers 83

The SportsXchange

CHICAGO -- Kirk Hinrich scored a season-high 22 points, and the Chicago Bulls pulled away late to beat the Los Angeles Lakers 95-83 Monday at the United Center.

It was a game when something had to give. The Bulls started the night a mediocre 11-11 at home this season, while the Lakers were 5-13 away from the Staples Center. Monday's defeat was Los Angeles' sixth road loss in a row.

With the game tied 75-75 midway through the fourth quarter, Chicago scored eight consecutive points and finished the game on a 20-8 run.

Hinrich nailed a couple of jumpers, then Jimmy Butler drained a long turnaround as the shot clock expired to put the Bulls ahead 83-75 with 4:11 remaining. After the Lakers ended the 8-0 run, Bulls guard Marco Belinelli knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers to make it 89-79 with 2:26 left.

Belinelli finished with 15 points for Chicago, while Carlos Boozer had 14, Richard Hamilton 13, Nate Robinson 11 and Butler 10.

Lakers star Kobe Bryant finished with 16 points, ending his streak of scoring 20 or more points at 24 straight games. He shot 7-for-22 from the floor, including 0-for-6 on 3-point attempts.

Steve Nash led the Lakers with 18 points and six assists, but he had trouble staying with the usually low-scoring Hinrich. Lakers forward Pau Gasol finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds.

The Bulls led by 11 points in the second quarter and 10 in the third, but the Lakers made a move. One-time Bulls forward Metta World Peace knocked down a 3-pointer, Gasol drained two jumpers, and then a Bryant fast-break layup capped a 20-8 run and put the visitors up 69-67 with 25.6 seconds left in the third.

Lakers center Dwight Howard had a quiet night, other than when he got tangled up with Bulls backup center Nazr Mohammed in the second quarter, which resulted in a technical foul on Mohammed. Howard wound up with eight points and nine rebounds.

Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau said before the game that injured Derrick Rose could return to full practice this week, but he warned everyone to remain patient about the guard's return.

"He has to go through that (full-contact practice) for an extended amount of time," Thibodeau said. "It's not going to be, 'OK, one or two days of contact and he's going to be out there.' That's not going to happen."

NOTES: Bulls forward Luol Deng missed his second straight game with a right hamstring strain. Thibodeau offered no update, other than saying Deng was day-to-day and feeling better. ... Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni returned forward Earl Clark to the starting lineup for Monday's game, while Gasol came off the bench. This was Gasol's third game back from a concussion. He came off the bench against Miami, then started Sunday's loss to Toronto. Clark scored 12 points against the Bulls. ... If Bryant, 34, continues his current pace and finishes with the league's scoring title, he'd be the second-oldest scoring champ in league history, behind Michael Jordan, who was 35 when he won in 1997-98. ... Boozer was named Eastern Conference player of the week Monday after averaging 23.0 points and 14.8 assists in four games.
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