Utah 115, L.A. Lakers 107
SALT LAKE CITY, March 22(Ticker) --
One losing streak had to end when the
Los Angeles Lakers met the Utah Jazz. Despite Kobe Bryant's
43-point effort, it was not the Lakers'.
scored 27 points and grabbed 16 rebounds as the Jazz
rallied to snap a nine-game slide with a 115-107 victory over
the Lakers, who have lost six in a row.
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Bryant was dominant for the bulk of the game scoring 39 points
through the first three quarters and making nine of his first 11
"Nights like this just kind of come," Bryant said. "I was
really, really tired, exhausted before the game. I actually
didn't wake up until about 45 minutes before the game. So,
nights like this just happen sometimes."
He went cold in the fourth, however, and was part of another
poor defensive effort by the Lakers, who allowed the Jazz to
produce their highest point total since February 14 and top the
100-point mark for the first time since February 25. It was the
fifth game in a row the Lakers have allowed at least 100
"We couldn't contain anybody, we put our picks in jeopardy all
night long. It's terrible," Lakers interim coach Frank Hamblen
said. "(It was) 115 points we gave up. We give up 100-plus
almost every night now. You can't give up 100-plus points every
night defensively and expect to make the playoffs."
Los Angeles took an 88-82 lead into the fourth but saw it all
fall apart in the final period. Behind 10 points from
and eight from Okur, Utah shot 73 percent (11-of-15) in
the quarter and held the Lakers to just one basket over the
"We played great basketball," Jazz guard Gordan Giricek
"We shot the ball well, and at the most important times, guys
made big shots."
After the Lakers took a 100-98 lead on two free throws by
with just over five minutes to play, Giricek hit a
leaner to tie the game, igniting a 17-5 Jazz run.
jumper on Utah's next possession gave the club
the lead for good, 102-100. Following a free throw by Los
Angeles forward Brian Grant
, Harpring converted a three-point
play to make it 105-101 with 3:09 to go.
The Lakers never got any closer and had no answer for the Jazz,
seeing their deficit grow to as many as 10 points in the closing
"Something happens every night with this group," Hamblen said.
"They have to make a decision. Do you they want to pack it in,
or do they want to still try and compete for a playoff spot?
They've got to come with a sense of urgency about winning the
game, showing everybody in the arena they want to win the game,
including the officials."
Los Angeles was picked apart defensively in the fourth by one of
the lower-scoring teams in the Western Conference, showing none
of the urgency Hamblen is searching for.
"The frustrating part is our defense," Bryant said. "We're
doing a terrible job of team defense. We gave up layups in the
fourth quarter at a critical juncture, instead of making them
work for it. They got layups, and when they didn't get layups,
they got to the free-throw line."
Harpring scored 23 points on 10-of-12 shooting and Giricek
chipped in a season-high 22 as Utah finally got coach
his 938th career win, tying Hall of Famer Red Auerbach for
sixth on the all-time list.
"The taste of winning is a lot better than the taste of losing,"
Sloan said. "I never have acquired a taste for losing. It's
nice to be able to win again. We had a lot of guys who played
very well and that made a big difference in giving us a chance
to win this ballgame."
Bryant, who averaged 40.3 points in three games vs. the Jazz
this season, was just 2-of-9 in the fourth quarter after
shooting 14-of-17 through the first three.
After hitting nine three-pointers through the first three
quarters, it looked as if Bryant would have a shot at the
all-time record for most three-pointers (12) in a single game, a
mark he shares with Toronto's Donyell Marshall
. However, he
missed all four of his three-point attempts in the fourth.
"(The Jazz) made minor adjustments," Bryant said. "Being that
we're installing this offense in the middle of the season, we
don't have the necessary experience to get deeper into the
Bryant insisted after the game that he was not interested in the
record, or even aware of what it was.
The Lakers' losing streak is their worst since the 1993-94
season, and has the club 4 1/2 games behind the Denver Nuggets
in the race for the final playoff spot in the Western