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News  


NBA -- Fans pack United Center for Lakers visit


PhilBoxing.com




CHICAGO -- The biting cold that continues to blanket this city didn't hold back diehard Chicago Bulls fans from coming to the United Center Monday night when the star-studded Los Angeles Lakers came for their annual regular season visit.

Packed to the rafters, a total of 22,550 fans trooped to the arena to rally behind their beloved Bulls while taking a glimpse of the iconic Lakers.

Megastar Kobe Bryant led the rock star Lakers, much to the delight of a huge chunk of Lakers fans who bravely invaded the United Center wearing their team's familiar purple and gold ensemble. Also on hand were two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash, versatile Spaniard Pau Gasol, big man Dwight Howard and Metta World Peace, formerly Ron Artest, who spent his first three years in the NBA playing for the Bulls.

Unfortunately, Kobe didn't have his A-game and the Lakers fell to the defensively-tough hometown Bulls, 95-83. Bryant only had 16 points in 41 minutes on the floor but the five-time world champion also had four rebounds, five assists and three trnovers.

Already playing without ace Derrick Rose, who continues to recover from a torn ACL, the Bulls got further depleted when all-purpose forward Luol Deng did not suit up due to a right hamstring injury.

But veteran Kirk Hinrich ably went to the rescue and scored 22 points with eight assists. Hinrich, who was reacquired by the Bulls from the Atlanta Hawks this past offseason, made nine of 11 shots and grabbed seven rebounds.

In a tighly-fought contest that was tied at 75 with only 7:28 left to play in the fourth quarter, home court proved to be a decisive edge as the Bulls, buoyed by their cheering faithful, went on a 20-8 run to dispose the once-mighty Lakers.

According to ESPN.com the Chicago Bulls rank No.1 in the NBA in home attendance this season, averaging 21,751 fans per game at the United Center.

Since the Bulls didn't reach 100 points, ticket holders didn't go home with a free Big Mac courtesy of fastfood giant McDonalds. But with the season halfway through and the playoffs within sight, the important win against a proven nemesis tasted much better. (MM)

Photo: Bulls Center Joakim Noah only had six points against the Lakers, but the 6-foot-11 big man grabbed 13 rebounds.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Maria Macatangay.


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