Kobe leads Lakers past Chicago to spoil Pippen’s special night
Chicago, IL (Sports Network) – Kobe Bryant scored 23 points, grabbed nine
rebounds and handed out eight assists, as the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the
Chicago Bulls, 93-80, at the United Center.
Lamar Odom added 19 points and seven rebounds while Brian Cook contributed 16
points for the Lakers, who have won four straight games. Smush Parker posted
13 points in the win.
Kirk Hinrich netted 26 points and added seven helpers while Mike Sweetney
chipped in 22 points and 12 boards for the Bulls, who have dropped three of
their last four games.
The news was not all sour, though, as Chicago retired Scottie Pippen’s No. 33
jersey at halftime. Pippen, a legendary Bull, spent 12 of his 17 NBA seasons
in the Windy City, and, along with Michael Jordan, helped Chicago win six NBA
titles (1991-93, 1996-98).
In addition, the future Hall of Fame forward, Pippen was a seven-time All-
Star, a member of the NBA All-Defensive Team from 1991-2000 and was selected
as one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history.
“I would like to take this time out to thank the Chicago Bulls organization
for this evening,” Pippen told the crowd. “It is truly a great honor for me
and my family to have this day to join some of the great players in this
organization. To be alongside the greatest player ever to play this game
(Jordan), means so much to me…I will never forget what you did for me and
what I was able to do for you. I will always keep you at the top of my heart
and will never forget you.”
Pippen was also presented with several gifts during the ceremony, including a
replica banner, three hand-crafted NBA championship trophies and a
commemorative home jersey.
“He is truly deserving of his number hanging in the rafters,” Jordan said of
“He (Pippen) was the best. He worked hard in this game and he had an aptitude
for this game,” added current Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who was the head man
during Chicago’s dynasty and has since added three NBA titles to his resume as
Los Angeles’ head coach (2000-02).
Leading by four points heading into the final period, the Lakers quickly
extended the margin to eight. Cook’s basket with 4:48 to go then made it an
84-74 contest, but Chicago closed within six moments later.
However, the Bulls never got any closer as they were outscored by seven the
rest of the way.
Los Angeles led by four late in the first period, but closed the quarter on a
10-0 run to grab a 33-19 lead.
Chicago missed 11 straight shots bridging the first and second quarters and
finally put an end to a scoring drought that lasted just over six minutes when
Othella Harrington hit a fadeaway jumper with 8:37 to go in the second.
Despite the Bulls’ early struggles, though, they got back into the game
courtesy of a 9-0 flurry to start the second quarter. The Lakers allowed
Chicago to get within three points as the visitors also missed 11 straight
shots in the second and did not a score a point until just past the halfway
point of the frame.
Los Angeles eventually led 47-37 at the half.
In the third quarter, the Bulls again battled back and tied the score at 63
apiece courtesy of Sweetney’s three-point play with around 2:45 to play. The
Lakers rebounded, though, and eventually led 72-68 after 36 minutes.
LA made 7-of-18 three-pointers while the Bulls were just 2-of-15 from behind
the arc…Pippen joined Jordan, Jerry Sloan and Bob Love as the only players
to have their number retired by the Bulls. Jackson also has a banner hung from