NBA Game Summary - Utah at LA Lakers
(Sunday, January 1st)
Final Score: Utah 98, LA Lakers 94
Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Andrei Kirilenko netted a game-high 23 points to help Utah fight off the Los Angeles Lakers, 98-94, in the first installment of a home-and-home series at the Staples Center.
Mehmet Okur chipped in 16 points and collected eight rebounds while Keith McLeod added 15 points for the Jazz, who have won four straight.
Brian Cook went 8-of-10 from the floor and tied a season-high with 19 points to pace Los Angeles, which dropped its fourth straight game despite having five players finish in double figures.
Los Angeles was playing without Kobe Bryant, who was serving the first of his two-game suspension for elbowing Mike Miller in the throat during Wednesday's 100-99 overtime loss to Memphis.
Lamar Odom had 18 points, 12 boards and eight assists in Bryant's absence, and Chris Mihm had 12 points.
The Lakers trailed for the majority of the game, but Devean George's jumper with under four minutes remaining in the contest capped a 9-2 run that tied the game at 88-88.
Odom tied it again at 92-92 on a layup with 1:37 to play, but McLeod took advantage of a Lakers' defensive lapse, driving into the open lane and sinking a layup of his own to give the lead back to Utah.
Then, after the teams traded missed shots, Luke Walton turned the ball over on a bad pass with 25 seconds left. McLeod hit both ensuing free throws and George's long three-point try on the other end hit iron to seal the game.
"Poor decisions and free throw shooting haunted us," said Lakers head coach Phil Jackson. "I was disappointed in our ball control."
The Jazz used a 9-2 run in the latter stages of the second quarter to take a nine-point lead. Humphries had five points in the spurt, including a layup with 6:01 left that made it 39-30. The lead got as high as 10 in the stanza.
The Lakers chipped away for the remaining of the quarter, though, and Walton's turnaround hook shot with 24 seconds left made it a 53-49 at the half.
After three quarter, that lead was cut to 76-73.
The home-and-home switches to Utah's court on Tuesday...Utah has won just twice in L.A. in its last 10 trips...The Jazz converted 24 of their 26 free throws while L.A. hit just 15-of-25 from the stripe...The Jazz are 8-8 away from home this season.
01/02 00:23:43 ET