Los Angeles, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Lakers spoiled Pau Gasol's return to Staples Center.
It turned out to be a lot harder than it should've been.
Jordan Hill had 26 points and 12 rebounds as the Lakers defeated the Chicago Bulls 123-118 in double overtime on Thursday night.
The Lakers squandered a 15-point second half advantage and a nine-point cushion late in regulation. Chicago didn't take it first lead until the early moments of the first overtime when Derrick Rose knocked down a 3-pointer at the 4:42 mark.
Hill, though, sent the game into another extra session with a late jumper from the left wing in overtime and LA pulled away in the second OT.
Gasol, who helped the Lakers win two NBA titles during his six-plus seasons in the City of Angels, received a standing ovation from the crowd following a video tribute during his introduction. Gasol then walked out to halfcourt and waved to the fans.
"When things were going well here, it was exceptional," Gasol said.
The spectators were given T-shirts that said "Thanks Pau" on the front with a list of his accomplishments with the Lakers on the back.
Gasol, whose tip-in tied the game at 98-98 with 11 seconds left in regulation, finished with 20 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.
Wayne Ellington posted 23 points and five rebounds for the Lakers, who snapped a nine-game losing streak.
"Our guys battled. Played extremely hard all night," Lakers coach Byron Scott said. "Was happy with the team's poise and ability to bounce back in the OTs."
Jimmy Butler netted a career-high 35 points to go with seven boards, while Joakim Noah pulled down 17 rebounds and dished out nine assists for Chicago, which had won three of its last four games coming in.
Derrick Rose, who was 7-of-26 from the floor, poured in 17 points to go with six helpers in defeat.
After Butler's steal and dunk trimmed the Chicago deficit to 84-83 with 8:39 left, the Lakers responded with an 8-0 run.
Ellington drove in for a finger roll layup, Carlos Boozer converted a hook shot in the paint with the shot clock running down, Jeremy Lin banked in a jumper and Robert Sacre's putback staked LA to a 92-83 margin with 5:39 to play in the fourth quarter.
Hill appeared to pour salt on the wound with a step-back jumper over Gasol for a 98-89 spread with 1:29 left in the frame.
Chicago, though, recorded the last nine points of regulation. Butler put in the first seven and Gasol tapped in a Rose miss to knot it.
Rose's triple in the opening overtime was his first one of the game. He finished 1-of-7 from beyond the arc.
Hill's jumper with 16.2 ticks on the clock tied it and Rose was off the mark on a step-back jumper at the horn.
Ellington scored the first two baskets of the second overtime and Chicago never seriously threatened again.
A 10-4 first-quarter burst helped LA jump out to a 16-8 cushion midway through the frame and it took a 28-19 margin into the second.
The Lakers, who led 59-48 at the break, was up by as many as 15 in the third. Chicago, though, closed the frame on an 8-2 spurt to get within 80-76 going into the fourth.
The Lakers had lost three straight and six of their last seven games against the Bulls ... LA blew a 19-point lead in its loss against the Washington Wizards on Tuesday ... The Lakers held a 68-56 points in the paint advantage ... Chicago was just 6-of-25 from long distance.