NBA Game Summary - LA Lakers at Utah
(Friday, April 1st)
Final Score: LA Lakers 96, Utah 85
Salt Lake City, UT (Sports Network) - Kobe Bryant scored 21 points and the Los Angeles Lakers overcame a slow start to down the Utah Jazz, 96-85, at EnergySolutions Arena.
The Lakers' ninth straight win brings them 1 1/2 games behind the Western Conference-leading Spurs, who dropped their sixth straight game on Friday.
LA's 17th win in 18 games didn't come as easy as the final score suggested, as Utah led by as many as 17 in the second quarter.
But the Jazz wilted in the second half en route to a seventh straight loss, officially eliminating them from the playoff race.
Pau Gasol had 16 points and nine rebounds, while Lamar Odom and Derek Fisher netted 16 and 15 points, respectively, in the win.
C.J. Miles posted 24 points for the Jazz, while Al Jefferson added 17 points and 10 rebounds in defeat.
"They locked in and took us out of our stuff a little bit," Miles said of the turnaround in the second half.
The Lakers played sluggish in the opening two quarters, perhaps a bit weakened by their hard-fought 110-82 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday.
Utah took advantage, getting up 26 shots in the first 12 minutes and making 13. The 28-22 lead at the end of the first frame was expanded thanks to a 13-2 run to start the second quarter.
But Bryant scored the final four points of a half-ending 10-point run, giving the visitors momentum heading to halftime despite being down 48-42.
LA continued to trail until it ended the third on an 18-4 flurry. A Shannon Brown layup gave the Lakers a 64-62 lead with under three minutes remaining, and Odom's late three resulted in a 71-64 advantage.
"By the time we got to bed [Friday] it was four or five in the morning for some of us; we started off slow," Odom said. "We did all the small things in the second half to come back and cut into that [deficit]."
Eight straight Lakers points to begin the fourth essentially sealed the outcome, as Andrew Bynum's three-point play 2:10 in made it a 15-point game.
Lakers forward Matt Barnes served his one-game suspension for his shoving of Mavericks guard Jason Terry in Thursday's win...Bynum scored 11 points for the Lakers, who were outscored, 50-38, in the paint...Paul Millsap ended with 16 points for Utah.
04/02 02:16:55 ET