LOS ANGELES – Dwight Howard scored 16 points and grabbed 21 rebounds, Kobe Bryant chipped in with 19 points, nine assists and seven rebounds, and the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Chicago Bulls 90-81 Sunday.
The Lakers improved to 33-31, the first time this season they have been two games over .500. They also moved one-half game ahead of the Utah Jazz and into sole possession of the No. 8 and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
The Lakers led almost throughout, only briefly falling behind by two points in the second quarter, and led by as many as 18 in the third period.
Nate Robinson led the Bulls with 19 points, and Joakim Noah had 18 points and 17 rebounds.
Howard made 8 of 14 shots from the floor but missed all five free throws. His 21 rebounds marked the fourth time this season he's grabbed at least 20.