The 2010-2011 NBA season certainly didn't end how either of these two teams would have liked. After a bright start to the series, the Bulls were brushed aside by the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Lakers, meanwhile, bid farewell to Phil Jackson with a flurry off technical fouls and ejections in a defeat to the eventual world champions in the Western Conference Semifinals.
The Bulls return from a quiet offseason with high hopes and the reigning MVP Derrick Rose while the Lakers have found themselves -- perhaps fittingly considering their hometown -- in the spotlight before this shortened campaign got underway. First, the Lakers reportedly agreed to a complex trade to bring Chris Paul to Los Angeles. Although CP3 arrived in Los Angeles, he will be playing for the other tenant in the Staples Center -- the Clippers. After that, Kobe Bryant's divorce from his wife, Vanessa, became headline news. While speculation over how much of Kobe's career earnings his soon-to-be ex-wife will be entitled to in any divorce settlement has run rampant, it's possible that the Clippers have a greater affect on Kobe's play on Christmas. During one of the two preseason meetings between the housemate franchises, Kobe injured his wrist after having a shot blocked by DeAndre Jordan. While he will reportedly play on Christmas it remains to be seen how the injury will limit him. Will he lead the way? Will Pau Gasol feel jilted by his involvement in the botched CP3 trade? Or will the relatively drama-free Bulls steal the show?
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