NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, January 3rd (All times eastern)
Los Angeles Lakers (15-15) at Utah Jazz (15-16), 9 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Lakers will once again be without All-Star guard Kobe Bryant tonight, as they visit the streaking Utah Jazz at the Delta Center for the second of a home-and-home set.
Bryant was suspended two games by the NBA on Friday for his flagrant foul on Memphis' Mike Miller during LA's 100-99 overtime loss last Wednesday at the Staples Center. The seven-time All-Star is eligible to return on Friday when the Lakers host Allen Iverson and the Philadelphia 76ers.
The 27-year-old Bryant is averaging a team-high 32.7 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game this season. He did not play in the opener of the home- and-home set because of the suspension.
Andrei Kirilenko netted a game-high 23 points to help Utah fight off the Lakers, 98-94, on Sunday 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. Lamar Odom had 18 points, 12 boards and eight assists in Bryant's absence, while center Chris Mihm finished with 12 points.
After tonight's game, the Jazz hit the road for a four-game swing. They are scheduled to visit Memphis, Detroit, Washington and Philadelphia on the upcoming trip.
Utah is 7-8 as the host this season. The Jazz have won four in a row at the Delta Center.
The Lakers are 9-7 as the visitor this season. They have dropped two straight on the road.
This is the third meeting of the season between the clubs. On December 1st, Sasha Vujacic hit the go-ahead three-pointer with 20.1 seconds left in overtime, as the Lakers beat the Jazz, 105-101, at the Delta Center. The teams will play for a fourth and final time in the 2005-06 campaign on February 13th at the Staples Center. With the victory, the Lakers snapped a three-game series road losing streak.
The home team has won 12 of the last 17 meetings in this series, while the Jazz have won four of six and five of the last eight contests. The Lakers have lost five of eight and eight of their last 14 at Utah.
01/03 10:10:52 ET