The Lakers are no match for Bulls
Bulls forward Taj Gibson shoots a reverse layup past the Lakers' Pau Gasol on Monday night at the United Center.
Kobe Bryant apologized for stinking up the house that Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Phil Jackson built.
Joakim Noah apologized for blurting out a few regrettable words during Saturday's loss to Memphis.
And Kirk Hinrich refused to apologize for collecting his season high of 22 points during a 95-83 victory over the lowly Los Angeles Lakers late Monday at the United Center.
Bryant finished with 16 points and hit 7 of 22 shots, ending a personal streak of 24 consecutive games of scoring at least 20 points. He gave partial credit to Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau and forward Jimmy Butler, who started his second straight game in place of Luol Deng (right-hamstring strain).
"Thibs, every time he faces me, he actually does a great job defensively," Bryant said. "Most of the looks I had tonight were tough shots. Some of it's credit to the young fella. He did a really good job, Butler, defensively.
"A lot of that's on me and on us having to try to manufacture something from the low shot clock, and it's tough."
Bryant continued to vent after being asked about the Lakers' rough season. Their record dropped to 17-24 overall, 5-14 on the road.
"It's very, very tough, very, very frustrating. It's embarrassing," Bryant said. "I'm a big history guy. Playing here in this arena with these incredible fans, in the house that MJ, Pip and PJ built — to put this kind of brand of basketball on the floor is just not acceptable."
Noah was benched for the fourth quarter and overtime Saturday against Memphis. Thibodeau wouldn't give details, but Noah admitted to some wrongdoing when the Lakers game ended.
"Thibs would never ever talk bad or say anything bad about us in the media or anything," Noah said. "But that was all me. I think he took me out, and I was emotional about it. I was ticked off and probably said some things I shouldn't have said.
"You learn from it and move on. That's just the mindset I wanted to have today, move on from it. There are so many games, you don't want it to keep lingering. I didn't want it to linger."
Asked if he said something directly to Thibodeau or just yelled things to no one in general, Noah stuck with the moving on theme.
"I don't even want to … it was my fault," he added. "I shouldn't have said the things I said. We moved on and we got a big win tonight, and I'm happy about that."
With the score tied at 75-75 midway through the fourth quarter, the Bulls scored 8 straight points. Hinrich nailed a couple of jumpers and Butler drained a long jumper over Bryant as the shot clock expired to put the Bulls ahead 83-75 with 4:11 remaining.
Marco Belinelli then knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers to make it 89-79 with 2:26 left.
Hinrich had produced double-figure scoring nights just eight times in his previous 34 games this season. Going against 38-year-old Steve Nash most of the night, Hinrich knocked down 9 of 11 shots from the field, including 3 of 4 from 3-point range.
"It's kind of been an afterthought for me all year," Hinrich said. "I'm trying to run the team and do my job. I had a few more looks tonight. It seemed like every time I came off (the pick-and-roll), I had a good look and I was in rhythm, so I was just letting them go.
"We feel like it's a quality win. We're struggling at home. We still feel like they're a good team. They've got great players. They've just got a lot of new guys. It seems like they're sill trying to figure it out. It's a big win for us."
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