Bulls, Lakers face off in Chicago

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Bulls are playing great basketball and will try to continue the momentum Christmas night when they host the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Bulls have won four straight and seven of their last eight. Chicago has also taken four consecutive home contests, and its recent run has been extremely impressive considering the competition.

The Bulls started this win streak with a home victory over the New York Knicks, then knocked off the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum. Chicago defeated the Toronto Raptors, and, on Tuesday, toppled the Wizards in Washington, 99-91.

Derrick Rose scored 25 points in the Bulls' win over the Wiz. Rose shot a combined 12-for-35 in the two games before missing two with an illness. Since his return, the former MVP has been lights out in a pair of crucial wins over two Eastern Conference contenders.

Rose scored 29 points on 12-of-19 shooting against Toronto on Monday and hit 10-for-17 in Washington on Tuesday. His personal 6-0 run late in the game helped the Bulls extend the best road record in the East to 13-4.

Rose won the battle of elite point guards as John Wall finished with 18 points and nine assists.

"They're both dynamic players," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said about Rose and Wall. "Hard to guard, transition, pick and rolls. Both are unselfish and make the right play."

Pau Gasol had 18 points and nine rebounds for the Bulls. Aaron Brooks managed 13 points off the bench, followed by 12 out of Taj Gibson. Jimmy Butler, who had been on a tear, cooled a bit with 11 points and Joakim Noah grabbed 11 rebounds.

Gasol will face his former team for the first time since signing with the Bulls in the offseason.

The Lakers snapped a three-game losing streak in an unlikely fashion.

LA beat the Golden State Warriors, the team with the NBA's best record, on Tuesday night and did so without the services of Kobe Bryant, who was sitting for rest.

Bryant, of course, has been used heavily in his 19th NBA season, and given his usage rate and his recent struggles, head coach Byron Scott opted to give the veteran a maintenance day. Bryant's status for Christmas night is unknown.

The Lakers built a huge lead by shooting 56.5 percent over the first three quarters and held on for a surprising win.

"That's exactly what we needed with that type of effort and energy," Scott said. "We just went out and played...and had confidence that we could make plays."

Carlos Boozer led seven Los Angeles players in double figures with 18 points and added nine rebounds. Ronnie Price contributed 17 points and eight assists, Nick Young added 15 points, and Wesley Johnson and Ed Davis chipped in with 14 apiece.

Wayne Ellington finished with 12 points and Jeremy Lin added 11.

The Bulls have won two straight over the Lakers and five of their last six. The teams have split the last eight meetings in Chicago, although the Bulls have won two in a row.