LOS ANGELES

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By Jimmy Toscano

CSNChicago.com contributor

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A trip to New York reminded Joe Maddon of the nowhere-to-hide scrutiny that comes with this job. But having no OFF switch must sound ideal to someone who loves the bright lights.

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Thursday’s Bulls-Lakers meeting, a 113-93 rout controlled almost exclusively by Chicago, served as an unintended validation for Pau Gasol’s grueling decision this past summer.

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The Bulls took Thursday’s Kobe Bryant-less Christmas affair not because the Lakers were without their star, but because Chicago has stabilized its roster with several of their own.

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It was less than two weeks ago that Kobe Bryant passed Michael Jordan for third-place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list with a free throw, and prior to Thursday night’s Lakers-Bulls Christmas mat

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