Shaq-less Lakers still shackle Bulls


Nick Van Exel and Kobe Bryant team-up for this sweet bucket.
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Michael Jordan gives us his nightly spectacular highlight.
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Jordan pulls off a move reminiscent of Dr. J.
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Nick Van Exel says that Elden Campbell was the star for the Lakers.
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Elden Campbell was a force inside for the Lakers.
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Box score | Game recap | Game flow

INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- No Shaquille O'Neal. No problem for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Jerome Kersey
Lakers forward Jerome Kersey pulls down an offensive rebound.
Forward Elden Campbell, who moved to center in place of the injured O'Neal, responded with career-high 34 points as the Lakers snapped the Chicago Bulls' eight-game winning streak with a 106-90 victory over the defending world champions Wednesday night.

Campbell also grabbed 14 rebounds, and Nick Van Exel had 24 points, 13 assists and eight rebounds for Los Angeles, which won for the seventh time in eight games and increased its Pacific Division lead to 2½ games over the Seattle SuperSonics.

"I knew I had to be the man tonight," Campbell said. "We have quality players on this team. We thought we had a chance tonight."

Campbell did such a good job of being "the man," he nearly confused his teammates.

"I thought it was Shaq out there -- Shaq without the dunks," Van Exel said of the seventh-year forward. "Elden did great. He fronted the middle well and came up big on the offensive boards and scoring-wise."

Michael Jordan scored 27 points and Scottie Pippen added 22 and nine assists for Chicago, which still owns the league's best record at 42-6 and the league's best road mark at 21-5. The Bulls lead the Central Division by 7½ games.

The 16-point margin matched the Bulls' worst defeat of the season. The Bulls had won 17 of their previous 18 and five straight on a six-game West Coast road trip

"We were a little tired, this being the last game of a long road trip," Jordan said. "Campbell surprised a lot of people tonight, not just me. He was their go-to guy. Sometimes missing a key player ignites someone else."

A look at how the Bulls fared during the 11-game suspension of Dennis Rodman, the NBA's leading rebounder. Chicago finished 9-2, but was outrebounded in seven of the 11 games:

Date Opp. Result Rebound edge
Jan. 17 Bucks W, 100-73 Bulls, 38-34
Jan. 19 Rockets L, 86-102 Bulls, 50-45
Jan. 21 Knicks W, 88-87 Knicks, 44-42
Jan. 23 Cavs W, 87-71 Bulls, 49-28
Jan. 25 Raptors W, 110-98 Raptors, 47-28
Jan. 28 Grizzlies W, 111-96 Grizzlies, 43-39
Jan. 30 Kings W, 111-93 Kings, 41-39
Jan. 31 Warriors W, 115-92 Bulls, 46-40
Feb. 2 Sonics W, 91-84 Sonics, 37-34
Feb. 4 Blazers W, 88-84 Blazers, 39-33
Feb. 5 Lakers L, 90-106 Lakers, 50-33
Bulls coach Phil Jackson also said playing without O'Neal might have sparked the Lakers.

"We weren't psychologically ready for Campbell," he said. "He played the game of his career. The team had great energy and were a whole lot quicker than we were.

"We chased them all night, but we could never catch them. They were always one step ahead."

Eddie Jones scored 18 points, andRobert Horry added 15, seven rebounds and three blocks for the Lakers, who improved to 21-4 at home.

Chicago, playing its final game without suspended rebounding specialist Dennis Rodman, was outrebounded 50-33. The contest marked the end of Rodman's 11-game suspension for kicking a courtside photographer at Minnesota on Jan. 15. The Bulls were 9-2 during the suspension.

O'Neal missed his second straight game because of a sprained right knee.

The Lakers, who took the lead for good by scoring the final six points of the first quarter, led by 11 points at halftime, and extended their advantage to 65-51 in the opening 20 seconds of the second half on a three-point play by Campbell.

Campbell scored his team's first 11 points in the third period, which ended with the Lakers on top 89-74. The Bulls got no closer than 12 points in the fourth quarter.

Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan scored only 14 points after a 13-point first quarter.
There has been speculation that Campbell's recent erratic play could cost him his spot in the starting lineup in favor of rookie Travis Knight. Coach Del Harris downplayed those sentiments.

"There's just so much negativism that has surrounded this team all year, for no reason whatsoever," Harris said. "And that's the case with Elden Campbell. Elden hasn't had a bad year. He's played well. But everything about him has been exaggerated."

When the teams played Dec. 7 at the United Center, the Lakers led by as many as 22 points and held a 101-83 lead entering the final period.

But thanks mainly to a smothering full-court pressure defense, the Bulls outscored the Lakers 33-15 in the fourth quarter, forcing overtime, and Chicago went on to win 129-123.

Jordan missed his first three shots Wednesday night before sparking a 16-6 run that gave the Bulls a 23-20 lead. He capped the spurt by making two 3-point shots.

It was 33-27 entering the second quarter, and back-to-back 3-point shots by Kobe Bryant and Van Exel early in the second quarter extended the Los Angeles lead to 41-31. The Lakers outscored the Bulls 8-2 to finish the first half, giving them a 62-51 lead.

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