Rose a thorn in Lakers' side; Bulls rally in LADec 26, 2011 - 2:48 AM Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Ahead by 11 points with 3:44 remaining, the Lakers appeared to have their Christmas wish granted with a season-opening win over the Bulls.
But Chicago scored the final seven points Sunday, as Luol Deng came up with several big defensive plays and Derrick Rose got a tough one-handed runner to fall in the closing seconds, giving the Bulls an exciting 88-87 comeback win.
Kobe Bryant gave Los Angeles an 87-81 lead on a fadeaway baseline jumper with 54.6 seconds left, though the star guard appeared to aggravate a torn ligament in his right wrist while falling to the hardwood.
Deng was short on a three-pointer at the other end, but followed his miss and attacked the basket, getting a layup to fall while being fouled. Deng made the ensuing free throw and two more at the stripe after a Bryant miss to pull the Chicago within 87-86 with 20.4 seconds to go.
After a timeout, Deng stole Bryant's entry pass to Pau Gasol, setting the stage for the reigning MVP's heroics.
Rose answered the call by taking Derek Fisher off the dribble, then contorted his body around the seven-foot Gasol in the lane while getting his runner to fall through with 4.8 seconds remaining.
"It was really a floater, that's something that I'm used to doing if I'm going to my right hand. They let me get to my right hand and that's how it got up," Rose said of the game-winning shot.
Bryant had one last chance to steal the win, but his drive was met by a trio of defenders at the baseline, and Deng's block as the buzzer sounded sealed the dramatic win.
The Lakers didn't help themselves by missing all four of their fourth quarter foul shots.
"We beat ourselves at the end," Bryant said. "Turnovers and free throws."
Rose finished with 22 points and Deng added 21 points, seven rebounds and four steals for the Bulls, who saw little roster turnover following an Eastern Conference-best 62-20 regular season that ultimately saw them lose in the Eastern Conference finals to the Miami Heat.
The Lakers, meanwhile, underwent rampant changes in the offseason.
Head coach Phil Jackson retired after the Mavericks swept LA in last season's Western Conference semifinals, reigning Sixth Man of the Year Lamar Odom was traded away two weeks ago, and a failed deal for point guard Chris Paul brought uncertainty to an already new-look locker room.
Still, new head coach Mike Brown put the Lakers in position to win, thanks in part to Bryant's 28 points, seven rebounds and six assists, though the star guard committed eight of the team's 17 turnovers.
The Lakers slowed Chicago's offense after the intermission, holding the Bulls to 5-of-23 shooting in third quarter and only one field goal in the first 8 1/2 minutes of the fourth.
The cold stretch helped LA erase a 56-49 halftime deficit and take a 69-68 lead into the fourth.
The Lakers' bench scored the first seven points of the final stanza, as Andrew Goudelock made a three-pointer, Troy Murphy beat the shot clock with a baseline jumper and Steve Blake drained a 23-footer with a hand in his face.
The margin reached 82-71 on a Bryant bucket with 3:44 remaining, but Chicago countered with 10 of the next 13 points to pull within 85-81.
The Lakers held the biggest lead in the first half at 18-10, though the Bulls scored 12 of 14 points over the final 4 1/2 minutes of the opening quarter to take a 22-20 lead into the second.
After a scoreless first quarter, Rose totaled 10 points and three assists during a second frame that featured seven lead changes and three ties.
Deng scored the final six points of the half to give Chicago a 56-49 cushion at the break.
Carlos Boozer added 15 points for the Bulls, who improved to 10-6 on Christmas Day...Richard Hamilton, Chicago's major offseason acquisition, netted six points over 23 minutes...Gasol totaled 14 points and eight boards and Blake scored 12 off the bench in defeat...Metta World Peace, formerly Ron Artest, totaled four points in 25 minutes for LA, which fell to 20-18 all-time on December 25...The Lakers played without center Andrew Bynum, who began serving a four-game suspension for making unnecessary and excessive contact with Dallas' J.J. Barea in last year's playoffs.
- CHICAGO: 88
LOS ANGELES: 87
Dec 25 8:00 PM
- CHICAGO: 68
LOS ANGELES: 69
End of 3rd
Dec 25 7:14 PM
- CHICAGO: 56
LOS ANGELES: 49
Dec 25 6:29 PM
- CHICAGO: 22
LOS ANGELES: 20
End of 1st
Dec 25 5:53 PM
- CHICAGO: 0
LOS ANGELES: 0
1st Quarter - 12:00
Dec 25 5:25 PM
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