Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Tuesday evening home contest against the Utah Jazz as the Lakers looked to build on last Friday’s big win in Denver, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:
Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, Artest, Gasol and Bynum
Jazz: D. Williams, R. Bell, C.J. Miles, P. Millsap, A. Jefferson
8:22 Apparently, starting C.J. Miles was a good decision by Jerry Sloan, as his small forward scored the first seven points for his squad, hitting a three-pointer to get the Jazz within one at 8-7. Sloan made the switch from usual starter Andrei Kirilenko by starting rookie Gordon Hayward in Utah’s last game, but opted for the more offensively proficient Miles in this one. The Lakers did, however, score the next four points to open an early 5-point lead.
2:36 The lead would grow considerably in the few minutes following Phil Jackson’s time out with Utah trailing just 14-13, as the Purple and Gold reeled off a 15-2 burst to open up a 29-16 lead. A series of steals resulted in fast break points for Ron Artest, Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom, with five Lakers having scored at least three points.
0:00 Despite Paul Millsap’s 15-footer and tip-in at the buzzer of the first quarter, Utah managed to hit only 8-of-22 shots (36 percent) to L.A.’s whopping 13-of-18 (72.2 percent), which included Lamar Odom’s 3-for-3 off the bench. His three-pointer with 10 seconds left allowed him to match Bryant’s seven points, while Bynum added six and Artest and Fisher five apiece. An impressively focused effort it was for a team that hadn’t played since Friday evening.
5:16 Bryant, Fisher, Bynum and Artest returned to the game having watched the bench build the lead up to 21 points, thanks most recently to five straight points from Steve Blake, who also notched four assists in his 10 minutes of playing time. The game was well under control at that point, LAL getting nearly whatever they wanted on offense while (literally) shooting 70 percent from the field and conceding little on the opposite end (Jazz at 33.3 percent).
2:01 Nothing much changed in the next few minutes, the Lakers pushing their edge further to open a 60-32 margin in what was becoming a laugher. Fisher’s three, Bynum’s turnaround and Kobe’s pull-up jumper capped the most recent run, with Utah failing to score in a four-minute stretch. The bench scoring at that point was 20-3 for the Lakers, while bench assists were at 12-3. Odom had nine points, four dimes and four rebounds, Shannon Brown six points with a dime, Blake his five and four and Luke Walton three assists.
0:00 The margin at halftime was a healthy 28 points, with the scoring spread around amongst eight Lakers who had at least five points. Bryant led the way with 15 on 5-of-8 shooting, continuing his recent efficiency (54 percent in the last five games), while Gasol added 10 and Odom nine. L.A. shot 62.3 percent to Utah’s 32.6 percent despite giving up eight offensive boards while only grabbing one.
11:22 Much like in their 55-point blowout win of Cleveland on Jan. 11, the Lakers backed off not a bit to open the second half despite a bit lead, getting an alley-oop from Gasol to Bynum, then Bynum’s tip-in to push the lead to 70-38.
5:30 "The Lakers continue to toy with this Utah defense.” Those were the words of Lakers radio voice Spero Dedes on 710 ESPN radio after Gasol’s dunk made it 81-51 for the home team. Gasol, Bynum and Bryant had nearly matched Utah’s scoring themselves with 46 total points, paced by Kobe’s 20, 14 from the Spaniard and Bynum’s 12.
0:00 The Lakers led by 28 at the half … and led by 28 heading into the fourth quarter after a 27-all third quarter. The only thing of interest at this point is how many minutes L.A.’s stars would play, as Phil Jackson usually likes his starters (minus Fisher) to get at least 30 minutes of run. In this case, Bryant totaled 26, Bynum 27, Artest 24 and Fisher 23, down a bit since the second unit was so good in the second quarter.
12:00 Gasol would stay in to get a few more minutes in, joining Blake, Brown, Walton, and Odom, who quickly scored back-to-back buckets to make it 98-68. In celebrity news, the jumbotron offered a three-pack of Denzel Washington, Wayne Gretzky and Jack Nicholson. Talk about short and sweet … quite a power pack there.
9:26 You might want to go right to the highlight package for this one: Odom, who dribbled by Francisco Elson and drew a foul while falling out of bounds, threw an extremely high floating prayer up before landing among the photographers … and sank it, much to the collective joy of those in attendance. Walton added a corner three on the next possession to make it 106-68, and Brown missed a chance to completely bring the house down by clanging a breakaway dunk in transition. Even Denzel was surprised, getting off his feet in anticipation before spinning around after the brick.
0:00 L.A.’s subs managed to outscore a looking-to-make-it-closer Jazz bench 27-26 in the fourth to claim a 120-91 victory. Brown did get his final dunk to go, putting a point of emphasis on what was an entirely dominant victory (62 percent field goals … for the game). Stay tuned for postgame numbers of L.A.’s 17th straight home victory over Utah.
We highlighted some of the more interesting numbers from L.A.’s Martin Luther King night victory over Oklahoma City at STAPLES Center, which saw the team’s record improve to 31-12 on the season.
64 Kobe Bryant’s shooting percentage, continuing his run of impressive offensive efficiency of late. In his previous five games, Bryant had totaled 54 percent from the field, and led all scorers with 21 points in his 26 minutes.
62 Percent shooting for the Lakers on an outstanding 44-of-71 from the field. "When you shoot that high a percentage, it’s awfully hard on an (opponent),” summarized Phil Jackson.
39 Bench points for the Lakers, thanks in part to Lamar Odom’s 17-point performance on 7-of-8 shooting. Odom added eight boards in only 23 minute, while Luke Walton came in with nine points and three assists in 17 minutes.
38 L.A.’s biggest lead, which is somehow 19 points fewer than their 57-point margin against Cleveland on Jan. 11. "”We came out with a lot of energy,” said Jackson. "Shot the ball really well.” The only problem Jackson had was his team’s transition defense off turnovers.
34 Season-high assists for the Lakers in a game featuring terrific ball movement. Bryant led the way with six dimes, while Gasol and Brown added five apiece, plus four each from Odom and Blake.
5.5 Games back of San Antonio (38-7) as the Lakers brought their record to 33-13.
3 Blocked shots for Andrew Bynum, who was an effective paint deterrent throughout the evening. He added a 19-point, 11-rebound double-double on 6-of-9 shooting. Since he returned to the starting line up at New Orleans on Dec. 29, the Lakers are 12-3. lakers3peat