Jazz Go for Eighth Straight Win as They Host the Lakers
Posted Nov 24 2006 10:38AM
NBA.com Daily Confidential
The Utah Jazz look to extend their winning streak to eight games and maintain their perfect home record when they meet Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday.
Utah (11-1) is off to the best start in franchise history after a remarkable 110-101 victory at Sacramento on Wednesday. The Jazz trailed by 21 points in the third quarter and outscored the Kings 39-17 in the fourth to come away with their seventh straight win.
They haven't won eight in a row since a nine-game run from Feb. 28-March 16, 2000.
Mehmet Okur's 3-pointer with 1:45 left put Utah ahead for good Wednesday.
``They collapsed a little bit and he (Okur) was alone for about three seconds and was able to line it up, that was a big-time shot,'' Utah forward Carlos Boozer said. ``That was a heck of a game, coming back from 21 to win on the road.''
The Jazz, who are 6-0 at home, have trailed entering the fourth quarter in each of their last three games. They came back from an 84-73 deficit in a 120-117 overtime win over Phoenix on Saturday and a 77-71 deficit two days later in a 101-96 victory over Toronto.
``We have some real fighters on this team, we keep getting down early but we come back in the second half,'' forward Matt Harpring said. ``It was another great win, but we don't want to rely on winning this way.''
Bryant was just as good a finisher as the Jazz in his last game.
The Lakers star scored 10 of his season-high 40 points in the final 5:38 to lead his team to a 105-101 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday.
``I'm just setting the tone. I'm just coming out and been aggressive and reading the defense in the second half,'' Bryant said.
One game after Bryant was criticized by coach Phil Jackson for his 5-of-14 shooting in a win over Chicago on Sunday, he made 15-of-18 foul shots and committed only one turnover against the Clippers as the Lakers (8-3) won a season-high fourth in a row.
His production helped the Lakers overcome an uneven performance from Lamar Odom, who made 6-of-18 shots and 4-of-10 free throws for 18 points.
``He (Bryant) got to the line and had some points and that's really what carried us because Lamar had a nightmare of a game,'' Jackson said.
Utah forward Andrei Kirilenko has missed five straight games with a sprained ankle. The Jazz have gone 14-40 without him the last two seasons, but are 5-0 this year.
Boozer has picked up the slack in his absence, averaging 23.8 points on 66.7 percent shooting. He's scored 67 points in his last two games and leads five players averaging in double figures for the Jazz.
Point guard Deron Williams is second on the team with 18.3 points per game and second in the NBA in assists with 9.3 a contest.
Utah is the only NBA team shooting over 50 percent this season.
The Jazz and Lakers split four meetings last season. Utah has won four of the last five matchups at home.
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