Bryant, Lakers top slumping BullsNov 19, 2007 - 6:21 AM By John Reger PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Kobe Bryant might not be going to the Chicago Bulls, but he still looked like he was trying to impress them.
Bryant scored 18 points to lead seven players in double figures as the Los Angeles Lakers breezed to a 106-78 victory over the struggling Bulls on Sunday at Staples Center.
With the trade rumors of Bryant to Chicago for a package of players being all but quashed by both franchises. The two-time scoring champion looked happy playing with the Lakers in this one.
Andrew Bynum had 14 points and 10 rebounds and Jordan Farmar also scored 14 for Los Angeles, who extended their winning streak to three games.
"We gave (Farmar) some starting minutes at the end of the year last year because we saw he could drive the ball down the floor, speed up the offense," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "A lot of what I have changed in the offense this year has been for his game. It really benefits the style of game he plays and the way he can play."
Bynum got more work after Kwame Brown went down hard with 8:28 left in the first quarter, getting hit in the leg by Chicago's Ben Wallace. Brown was carried off the court by teammates and X-rays were negative, but he did sprain both his left ankle and left knee and did not return.
"We have a deep team. People didn't realize that last year because of all the injuries," Lakers center Chris Mihm said. "We have a lot of talent on this team and a lot of different guys that can come in and provide that lift for us on any given night. That's exciting, I hope we can stay healthy this year."
In the second half, Los Angeles went on an aggressive 13-2 run to open the third quarter to build a 58-48 lead. Bryant netted seven points in the stretch.
"Our guys are really jelling," said Bryant, who added five boards and three steals. "It just comes from working hard at practice and they're playing really well."
The Lakers added to their cushion in the fourth, extending the bulge to 79-60 when Farmar fed Mihm for a two-handed jam at the 10:56 mark and never relinquished the lead.
Los Angeles was sloppy in the first half, turning the ball over 14 times that gave the Bulls hold a 46-45 edge at intermission. Chicago's Ben Gordon poured in 14 of his 20 points in the first half.
"I felt like we ran out of gas," Gordon said. "We came out and played well in the first half. Second half we just didn't have that same energy and intensity. I think that was pretty much the key to the game."
Andres Nocioni scored 14 points for the Bulls, who shot 34 percent (31-of-81) from the floor and fell to 2-7 on the season.
"We bring it in stretches and other times we look disinterested out there," Chicago coach Scott Skiles said. "We're not good enough to do that. We are not able to sustain it right now for any long period of time."
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