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Lakers-Bulls Preview

By TAYLOR BECHTOLD

STATS Writer

(AP) -- The Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers are both looking to extend positive stretches, and it's a former cast-off leading the way for both teams.

Chicago seeks its eighth win in 10 games while denying Los Angeles its first three-game winning streak in two months Monday night at the United Center.

D.J. Augustin hasn't exactly filled the shoes of the injured Derrick Rose, but he's certainly provided a spark since signing with the Bulls on Dec. 13.

After failing to score in double figures in 10 games with Toronto, he's averaged 11.5 points while leading Chicago (19-20) in assists in 11 of 19. The Bulls are 11-8 with Augustin on the roster and 7-2 in 2014.

Augustin has put up 18.0 points and 6.3 assists per game while hitting 9 of 18 from 3-point range in his last three. He came off the bench to score 19 with eight assists in a 103-78 win over visiting Philadelphia on Saturday.

"I'm just going out there, playing freely, doing whatever coach (Tom Thibodeau) needs me to do, whatever my teammates need me to do," Augustin said. "Basically, just trying to get them the ball, trying to get them open. At the same time, coach wanted me to look (to score) for myself."

Joakim Noah, who had 21 points and 16 rebounds, has averaged 13.5 boards during a career-best stretch of 12 straight games with double-digit rebounds. He finished with 18 points and 17 boards in a 90-81 loss in the most recent meeting with the Lakers on March 10 at Staples Center.

The Bulls hope to get back to .500 with their sixth win in seven home games, while the Lakers (16-25) go for their first three-game winning streak since Nov. 17-24.

After suffering their 12th loss in 13 games on Wednesday - 121-114 at Phoenix - to open a seven-game trip, they rallied from eight down with 4:12 to play to beat Boston 107-104 on Friday.

On Sunday, Los Angeles trailed by as many as 19 before coming back to beat Atlantic Division-leading Toronto 112-106.

"It's really gratifying to win back-to-back games on the road, especially with the way we've been struggling," said Pau Gasol, who had 22 points and has averaged 20.9 over his last 10 games. "I'm just really proud of the guys. They're stepping up, they're bringing the effort, bringing the intensity, bringing the focus and not wanting to give up."

Nick Young, averaging a team-best 16.7 points, returned from a one-game suspension for throwing a punch at Phoenix's Goran Dragic and put up a season-high 29 with five 3s. The backup shooting guard, on his fourth team in three seasons, has scored 20.4 per game while hitting 11 of 27 (40.7 percent) from long range over his last five.

"Nick's been doing it all year and he just keeps going," coach Mike D'Antoni said.

Rookie forward Ryan Kelly also has given the club a lift of late, totaling 37 points in his last two games.

The Lakers have scored 112.8 per game while making 44.8 percent from 3-point range in their last four, but they aren't likely to have it easy against defensive-minded Chicago.

The Bulls limited the 76ers to 35.1 percent shooting - including 2 for 19 from 3-point range - in Saturday's win.

Chicago has won three of the last four meetings.

Updated January 19, 2014

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