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Lakers rally after half to turn back Bulls

THE Los Angeles Lakers overturned a 14-point halftime deficit to beat the Chicago Bulls 117-109, helped by Kobe Bryant's 28 points on Saturday.

Spaniard Pau Gasol added 23 points and 10 rebounds for the Western Conference-leading Lakers (55-14), who have the league's second best record behind Eastern leader Cleveland (56-13).

Three other Lakers finished in double figures. Trevor Ariza had 18 as a starter, Lamar Odom added 16 and Jordan Farmar had 13 in the first of seven consecutive road games for Los Angeles.

"They kind of overwhelmed us with their energy in the first half," Bryant told reporters. "We wanted to come out (after halftime) and do the same."

The Lakers reserves provided that spark to beat the Bulls.

"So many things went against us tonight ?? we could have easily just went, 'Ah well, we'll get the next one'," said Lakers guard Derek Fisher. "But guys off the bench were contributing."

In other National Basketball Association games, it was: Cavaliers 102, Hawks 96; Magic 110, Knicks 103; Pacers 108, Bobcats 83; Celtics 105, Grizzlies 87; Trail Blazers 96, Bucks 84; and Suns 128, Wizards 96.

In Chicago, John Salmons had 30 points and Derrick Rose scored 25 for the Bulls (32-38), who are trying to hold on to the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Despite the loss, Chicago is a game ahead of Charlotte and one and a half games in front of Milwaukee and New Jersey for the eighth spot.

The Lakers trailed 48-62 at the half but produced a 33-point third quarter to cut the deficit to six with one period left in the ballgame.

A 14-0 run in the fourth quarter turned the tide, pushing the visitors to a 106-93 lead with 4:22 to play.

"We had a good opportunity and let it slip away," said Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro. "Our turnovers in the second half were the difference."

The Bulls turned the ball over 23 times in the game. They had tied a season high with three straight wins, but their luck ended against the Lakers. So did their seven-game home win streak

In Cleveland, Ohio, Mo Williams scored 24 points, LeBron James added 22 and the Cavaliers rolled to their eighth straight win, beating the Atlanta Hawks.

The loss snapped the Hawks' seven-game winning streak and coach Mike Woodson was ejected in the third quarter.


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