paubullsThe Lakers are back at the Staples Center hosting the Chicago Bulls in the third of a five-game home stand.

Los Angeles put up a solid effort against Detroit and came away with a 106-93 win. Kobe Bryant did his part in ensuring that the team could cruise at the end of the game by scoring 35 of his 40 in the first three quarters.

Impressively his 100th forty point game of his career leaving him behind only Wilt Chamberlain (271) & Michael Jordan (173) in the history of the game. Equally impressive is the fact that Bryant is 16 points away from passing the legendary Kareem Abdul-Jabber, being second on the all-time Lakers scoring list.

The good news keeps on coming with the reports that All-Star Power Forward Pau Gasol will make his season debut tonight. The Lakers haven’t been at full strength all season and his return will make the team much more formidable. The ball movement, player movement, spacing and scoring will improve with the return of Gasol.

You can attribute the three losses the team has suffered to his absence as much as you can to struggling in the second-half of games.

Adding Gasol’s 19.6 points and 9.6 rebounds production literally makes the Lakers a different team and gives the team more options and the Bulls the opportunity to pick your poison in terms of what you want to stop. He practiced with the team in preparation for this game and in a way the game plan will be similar to what it was against the Pistons.

The Bulls are a team that wants to get out in transition as much as possible. The Lakers need to slow down the tempo and force the Bulls to have to set up and execute their half court offense. Luol Deng is their main option in the post but the Lakers have too much size for him to be highly effective.

Look for the Bulls to run several screen and roll plays with Derrick Rose & Kirk Hinrich as the ball handlers to open up shooters on the perimeter. The Lakers have to control the glass, play solid defense, get back in transition and trap the pick and roll play. The Lakers need to challenge every shot and force the Bulls to do something else.

It is a basic set but the Bulls ran this play to perfection in their previous game against the Kings and scored over 100 points for the first time this year. Los Angeles has the size advantage but Chicago is a team that plays very hard, competes and also has some solid rebounders that don’t quit. The Lakers have too much length not to win the rebounding match up.

Look for the Lakers to again start the offense from the inside out this time establishing the inside presence of Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant who is averaging 14 points in the paint.

“Nosotros le necesitamos sano ser histórico”

“Bienvenido campeón”

Tip-off: 7:30 PM PST

Television

  • Los Angeles: TNT
  • Chicago: TNT

Radio

  • Los Angeles: ESPN 710 AM (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
  • Chicago: ESPN 1000 AM (Chuck Swirsky & Bill Wennington)

Injuries

Lakers:

  • Luke Walton (Back)

Bulls:

  • Aaron Gray (Knee)