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Reply To: NBA • Sunday Service Plays • 2/21/16

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Preview: L.A. Lakers At Chicago

When: 8:00 PM ET, Sunday, February 21, 2016
Where: United Center, Chicago, Illinois

The Chicago Bulls are a tough team to figure out right now, though they look a lot more effective when Doug McDermott plays well. McDermott and the Bulls will try to put together back-to-back solid performances when Kobe Bryant makes his final visit to Chicago with the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.

Bryant suffered a dislocated finger in Friday’s 119-113 loss to the San Antonio but continued to play after it was popped back into place by a trainer, and x-rays after the game revealed no fracture. “Yeah, as far as I know, yeah,” Bryant told reporters when asked if he would play on Sunday. “(It) will be interesting to see how this responds (Saturday), but it’s not fractured or anything.” Bryant could have to put in some time guarding McDermott, whose own two-game stretch since the All-Star break provided a microcosm of Chicago’s season. The second-year swingman managed three points on 1-of-6 shooting in a loss at Cleveland on Thursday but exploded for a career-high 30 points on 13-of-17 shooting in Friday’s win over Toronto.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN, TWC SportsNet (Los Angeles), WGN (Chicago)

ABOUT THE LAKERS (11-45): Bryant is trying to make an appearance in every road game in his final season as a gesture to the fans and is especially fond of the Bulls, who are one of the few teams he would have waived his no-trade clause to join when Los Angeles was going through a rough patch nearly 10 years ago. The future Hall-of-Famer has been giving vintage performances of late and did not disappoint with 25 points in 29 minutes on Friday. Bryant is averaging 24.9 points in his last seven games while logging 30.9 minutes.

ABOUT THE BULLS (28-26): McDermott’s big night snapped a five-game slide for sinking Chicago, which finds itself in eighth place in the Eastern Conference. “He’s such a good player, such a good shooter,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg, who gave McDermott a pep talk prior to the game, told reporters. “I know his teammates trust him. I told him, every time he shoots the ball, I think it’s going in, and to go out there and play his game and play with confidence.” Chicago is counting on McDermott to fill the void while Jimmy Butler (knee) and Nikola Mirotic (appendix) heal.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Lakers F Julius Randle posted a double-double in six of the last eight games.

2. Bulls G Derrick Rose is averaging 27 points on 23-of-39 shooting in the last two games.

3. McDermott scored 15 points in a 114-91 win at Los Angeles on Jan. 28.

PREDICTION: Bulls 109, Lakers 99