- Dave McMenamin, ESPN Staff Writer
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LOS ANGELES -- Back to life. Back to L.A. Back to reality.
After having a reason to feel good about themselves for the first time in a while as they finished their road trip on a two-game winning streak, the Los Angeles Lakers came back down to earth Sunday against the Chicago Bulls.
The Lakers did their best to make a game of it after falling down 10-0 to start and trailing by as many as 19 at one point, but a loss is a loss and Sunday's defeat marks 20 in the past 25 games for the Lakers.
How it happened: L.A. used a 9-2 run late in the fourth quarter to cut the Bulls lead to 86-80 with 1:28 left and got even closer with a Wesley Johnson dunk bringing the Lakers within four at 88-84 with 48.3 seconds left. L.A. got D.J. Augustin to miss a jumper on the next possession but turned the ball over on a Steve Blake pass when the Lakers streaked down the court to try to cut the deficit to two. Augustin responded with two free throws to put Chicago back up by six. Chris Kaman air-balled a 3 on the Lakers' final possession, despite a great game up to that point.
What it means: Those 10 "Did Not Play - Coach's Decision" that Kaman racked up in 15 games in January seem awful suspect after the former All-Star center put in 17 points, eight rebounds and three blocks against Philadelphia followed by an impressive 27-point, 10-rebound, two-block game against the Bulls. At the very least, he could be establishing some value on the trade market.
Hits: Kendall Marshall had 13 points and 11 assists off the bench and Jordan Hill had 15 points and nine rebounds, making their efforts as a reserve trio along with Kaman really stand out, especially considering L.A.'s starters combined for just 24 points.
Misses: The Lakers had 18 turnovers leading to 17 points for Chicago.
Steve Nash left the game early with nerve irritation in his left leg.
Jordan Farmar did not play as a precautionary measure because of hamstring tightness. He is considered day-to-day.
Stat of the game: 17. That's the combined number of healthy bodies the Bulls and Lakers had for the game.
Up next: The Lakers host Utah on Tuesday and Oklahoma City on Thursday before, mercifully, being given four days off to rest up and hopefully get some players healthy for the final 29 games of the season.
7dAmin Elhassan and Baxter Holmes