THE FACTS: The Lakers turned the page again Friday night. The new chapter featuring Kobe Bryant as more of a facilitator than a scorer, Metta World Peace playing the part of a legitimate 3-point threat, rather than just a defensive stalwart, and Dwight Howard showing what he can do with the ball in his hands, versus just occupying space down low. The change in roles and attitude seemed to be just what the Lakers needed to end their four-game losing streak with a 102-84 victory against the visiting Jazz at Staples Center and possibly put a derailed season back on track.
QUOTABLE: "I just enjoy winning."
-- Kobe Bryant
THE STAT: Bryant matched his season-low with 14 points but distributed a season-high 14 assists, one short of his career high and the most since he had 14 in November 2010. He also recorded nine rebounds, leaving him one short of his 19th career triple-double.
QUOTABLE II: "I thought the energy was great, the sharing of the ball."
-- Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni
TURNING POINT: The Jazz pulled within three points on a basket by Derrick Favors with 2:36 remaining in the third quarter, but Bryant took over the play-calling and assisted on four consecutive baskets to push the lead back to 72-63. The Lakers then scored the first four points of the fourth quarter and Utah never got back within nine in L.A.'s wire-to-wire victory.
HOT: World Peace was the biggest beneficiary of Bryant's unselfish play, taking 11 shots from 3-point range and converting a season-high five, one off his career high. He and Howard finished with a team-high 17 points, both taking more shots than Bryant. Howard also chipped in a team-leading 13 rebounds and two blocked shots.
NOT: Utah center Al Jefferson continued his career-long struggles against the Lakers. Jefferson came in averaging 15 points in 21 games against L.A. and shooting 42.6 percent from the field, his lowest percentage against any team in the NBA by nearly three points. Jefferson shot 5-for-14 against the Lakers and finished with 12 points, the third straight game he has scored below his season average.
GOOD MOVE: Lakers forward Pau Gasol has made it clear he'd prefer to start, but he looked as good as ever in his fifth consecutive game coming off the bench. He scored 15 points on 7-for-8 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds. He's averaging 15.4 points and 7.2 rebounds in the last five games. Better yet, bringing Gasol off the bench allows the Lakers to have either him, Howard or both on the floor at all times.
BAD MOVE: The Jazz had a chance to sweep the season series against the Lakers for the first time in franchise history and extend their winning streak against L.A. to five games overall, but they came out unmotivated, allowing the game's first seven points and not converting their first field goal until 8:19 remaining in the opening quarter. After just four minutes, Utah was already chasing a double-digit deficit.
QUOTABLE III: "We have to understand how we have to play against a team that's playing physical like they are and be ready to go again tomorrow night. It's going to be a tough one against Indiana."
-- Utah coach Tyrone Corbin
NOTABLE: For just the fourth time in his career, Bryant had more assists than field-goal attempts when playing at least 30 minutes. ... World Peace missed all five field-goal attempts that weren't 3-pointers. ... The Lakers shot the same percentage from 3-point range (53.8) that they did from the field.
UP NEXT: For the Lakers, Sunday vs. Oklahoma City, Tuesday vs. New Orleans, Wednesday @ Phoenix. For the Jazz, Saturday vs. Indiana, Monday vs. Houston, Wednesday vs. New Orleans.