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NBA: Bryant, Howard, lead Lakers past Bulls

Published: Sunday, March 10, 2013 10:08 p.m. CDT
Los Angeles guard Kobe Bryant (24) shoots over Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah and forward Luol Deng in the first half of the Lakers' 90-81 victory Sunday in Los Angeles.

LOS ANGELES – Dwight Howard scored 16 points and grabbed 21 rebounds, as the Los Angeles Lakers downed the Chicago Bulls 90-81 Sunday afternoon at Staples Center.

Kobe Bryant overcame a slow start to narrowly miss posting a triple double with 19 points, seven rebounds and nine assists as the Lakers won their sixth straight home game.

“We’re very focused,” Bryant said. “We know what we have to do and what lies ahead. Everybody’s locked in.”

Nate Robinson’s 19 points led the Bulls, who shot just 37.1 percent.

As expected, Kirk Hinrich and Taj Gibson joined Derrick Rose and Richard Hamilton as out for the Bulls.

Hamilton didn’t travel with the team because of his bad back. Rose remains out indefinitely following his left knee surgery last May. Coach Tom Thibodeau had called Hinrich and Gibson day-to-day, but neither’s injury is fully recovered.

Hinrich at least ditched the walking boot to protect his sore right foot, so there’s a chance he will play on this three-game trip.

As for the Lakers, they’ve won eight of 10.

“What Kobe [Bryant] is doing right now is just incredible,” Thibodeau said. “[Dwight] Howard looks like he’s a lot healthier. [Steve] Nash and multiple pick-and-roll players put a lot of pressure on your defense.”

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