CHICAGO, December 16 -Kobe Bryant scored a season-high 42 points to spark the Los Angeles Lakers to their 12th victory in 13 games, pounding the Chicago Bulls 96-87 in an NBA game Tuesday. Bryant, wearing a splint on his broken right index finger, scored 20 points in the first quarter and finished with a slam dunk in the closing seconds that had the Chicago crowd chanting "MVP" for Most Valuable Player honors.
Pau Gasol pulled down 16 rebounds and Andrew Bynum added 11 points for the Lakers while the Bulls, who lost for the 11th time in 13 games, were led by 21 points from Derrick Rose and Britain’s Luol Deng.
French standout Joakim Noah added 11 points and 20 rebounds for the Bulls, who fell to 8-15.
The reigning NBA champion Lakers improved to 19-4, the best record in the Western Conference.