Lakers Gameday | 04/02/10 | Jazz
Play by Play
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Odom, Bryant dominate in Lakers' win over Utah
By BETH HARRIS
LOS ANGELES(AP) Lamar Odom and Kobe Bryant triggered an offensive burst in the fourth quarter to help the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Utah Jazz 106-92 Friday night and avoid a third straight loss.
Odom finished with a season-high 26 points and 10 rebounds, and Bryant had 25 points, going 15 of 18 from the free throw line, hours after the defending NBA champions announced he signed a three-year contract extension worth nearly $90 million.
Pau Gasol fell one assist short of a triple-double with 14 points and 16 rebounds. Derek Fisher added 14 points.
The Lakers were prevented from clinching the Pacific Division after Phoenix won at Detroit. They were coming off a 2-3 road trip that ended with losses at New Orleans and Atlanta.
Deron Williams had 20 points and 10 assists, and Carlos Boozer had 20 points and 18 rebounds for the Jazz, who had their three-game winning streak snapped. They had won eight of their previous 10 while trying to edge out Dallas and Phoenix in a tight race for the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.
Odom sparked the Lakers in the first quarter with 11 points, had two in the second and went scoreless in the third before launching the decisive run in the final 12 minutes.
The Jazz scored the first four points of the final quarter to close to 75-71. Odom promptly drilled a 3-pointer from the left corner and the Lakers regained command with an 18-3 run that restored their lead to 19 points.
Odom ran off nine in a row before Bryant scored five straight, then Odom capped the spurt with a putback dunk that increased the Lakers' lead to 93-74. Odom, Bryant and Gasol left the game with 3:03 to play and Los Angeles ahead 99-82.
The Jazz twice cut their deficit to eight points in the third after the Lakers led by 14. Bryant missed 3 of 5 free throws and Gasol missed one before their lead dwindled to single digits.
The Lakers led by 19 in the second, but Utah outscored them 19-8 to close within eight on a 3-pointer by Wesley Matthews. Williams had 11 points in the spurt, including nine in a row. Odom's putback kept the Lakers ahead 54-45 at the break.
Odom didn't miss a shot in the first quarter, hitting five field goals and a 3-pointer for 11 points in helping the Lakers build a 33-16 lead. They outscored the Jazz 20-2, getting nine by Odom and six by Bryant, and shot 64 percent.
NOTES: Los Angeles won the season series for the fourth consecutive year, going 3-1. The Lakers have won eight straight at home against Utah. ... The Jazz play three of their final five games on the road against non-playoff teams Houston, New Orleans and Golden State. ... Lakers F Luke Walton said he expects to return Sunday against San Antonio after being out with a pinched nerve in his back.
Copyright 2010 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited
Lakers’ Coach Phil Jackson on tonight’s game:
“Well we got off to a good start and played the kind of basketball that we’d like to see us play at home, with some defensive stops and some run offs and things that happened good for us. We faltered a little bit in the second period. They came back at us; they are a good team, they can do that. In that third quarter, we ran out of gas when we were out there. Lamar (Odom) got in foul trouble. We had to shuffle and move our lineup around but a big bump in the third and fourth quarter, (when) Lamar really came in and played well.”
On Lamar Odom’s performance tonight:
“There were some offensive things that went well for him. This is a team we love to see him do well against; against this team he’s always had success.”
On if he’s happy with the win despite Kobe’s poor shooting:
“He hurt the team a little bit when his shooting wasn’t great, but, you know, I really don’t think about it in those terms.”
On the Lakers not being able to rest on tonight’s win:
“You could say that, sure… Yes it continues on. It’s the NBA. You’ve got to get ready for tomorrow. We can’t rest on our laurels for any longer than completing a successful act. That’s about it.”
On the reason he called a seemingly frustrated timeout in the third quarter:
“I didn’t like the pace that we were playing the game. I thought they were fanatic, they were out of character. The pace was too fast. (We were) playing at the pace of the Utah Jazz’s game which is an accelerated pace. And as a result, we were in a penalty situation... We had an opportunity to really do the right thing in the game and take it to them.”
On what he said during that timeout in the third quarter:
“Just to remind them that they are falling a little bit out of character; you just get them back in character. It’s good for them because we’ve had some of those situations recently, and I’m not happy with it. We get into a situation where when we have the ball on offense, it needs to be thoughtfully used in a way where we can exploit the defense and not just attack the defense.”
On the biggest aspect of tonight’s victory:
“I thought the turnovers were relatively good. That was a big part about this game, was to not turn the ball over to Utah.”
Lakers Guard Kobe Bryant on signing his extension contract:
“I am really excited to be here. It is very rare to play your entire career in one city.”
On finishing his career as a Laker:
[Does this contract mean you will finish your career as a Laker?] “Pretty much.”
On this being the last contract he signs:
“It is possible, but I doubt it.”
On the team’s energy tonight:
“We played very well. We executed well defensively and we had the energy to match it and we got a big lead because of it.”
On whether the “core group” all having extensions made a difference:
“Oh sure it did. There is just one more person I am waiting on. You can take a guess as to who that person is [Phil Jackson].”
On Phil Jackson coming back:
“It is a big part for me being a player. I made it very clear to him that I would love to see him be back.”
On looking back on his career:
“It is truly a huge honor. When I was signing my contract today I saw a picture of the first one I ever signed when I was 17. I can remember the day like it was yesterday and if you fast-forward to today it is really a blessing to be here.”
On being the greatest Laker of all time:
“The honor comes in just being a part of that conversation. To say that one Laker is the greatest Laker of all time is impossible with all the greats that have played here. I think the challenge I have in leading that discussion is to make my time as interesting as possible and win a couple more championships.”
Lakers’ Forward Lamar Odom on his performance as of late:
“Even on the road trip I felt like I was playing good defense. I felt like I was rebounding good. I just wasn’t making shots that I should make. Tonight, I was getting to the hole, creating space on the 3 pointers.”
On what the Lakers did better tonight that they didn’t do on the road:
“Play defense and move the ball really well in the triangle. We had good practice the other day. As far as execution is concerned, we just came in and executed the offense, kept it side to side, inside out.
Lakers’ Guard Derek Fisher on the difference in tonight’s game:
“I think some things we did in practice carried over to the game. We’ve been talking about cleaning up execution, handing some things better offensively. Also, some things defensively we’re trying to do. But I think just having the opportunity to practice, which we haven’t had a lot of on the road, went better for us.”
On what the Lakers wanted to get done in the game tonight:
“Just getting back to the basics of what we like to do offensively and some things that are key for us defensively. I think that was really what tonight’s game was all about. We didn’t really have any foregone conclusions in our mind about how the game really could be played. We just wanted to get back to playing the style of basketball we like to play and let everything else kind of take care of itself.”
On the Lakers front court tonight:
“When you have that kind of front court presence, it’s going to make things difficult for anybody you play. Pau and Lamar have so many things that they can do well for us that happens on the floor.”
Lakers’ Forward Pau Gasol on the difference in tonight’s game:
“The energy and focus was a little bit better. There’s a difference between playing on the road and playing at home. You get the crowd involved. It’s a lot easier to control the ball game than it is on the road, bottom line.”
On the match-up against Tim Duncan on Sunday:
“Just make sure I contest the shots, make sure you don’t give him easy looks, get a body on him on the glass. Make him work.”
Jazz Coach Jerry Sloan on the Lakers getting off to a fast start:
“Obviously, we’re not used to these guys getting up like we knew they were going to come out and get after us because they wanted to get a win under their belt. They got up, took us out of the offense, really made it difficult for us and we stood around and watched.”
On his team trying to fight back:
“We didn’t fight back until the second quarter. We had a little better fight. Start of the third quarter, we didn’t have much. Still got back in the ballgame. Every time we needed to make a stop they would make a play, get an easy basket or a three-point shot because they have the patience. They have the know-how. We just took shots.”
On whether his team would learn anything from tonight’s game:
“I think hopefully they learned a lesson. The Lakers are a terrific defensive team. They didn’t get to where they are and where they’ve been over the couple or three years because they they’re not a good defensive team. They’re a terrific defensive team.
On the experience of the Jazz and Lakers:
“You have to hang in there and we couldn’t seem to do that. These guys – you look at their experience and you look at our experience – we don’t have the experience they do to be able to hang in there in those cases.”
On the offensive effectiveness of the Jazz and Lakers:
“We took three-point shots early and didn’t make them. They got into the rhythm they wanted. They executed their plays very well. We looked like we were lost trying to guard them a few times.”
On the Lakers ability to go on prolonged runs:
“They did it because they stayed with what they do. They didn’t go crazy.”
Utah Jazz player Deron Williams on the first quarter of tonight’s game:
“They just tried to come out and blow us away in the first quarter. It’s tough to play against a team like this. You know, you can get close but it’s tough to come back and win.”
On what the Jazz learned about themselves from this game:
“We just have to play a little tougher. Their toughness in that first quarter…it got to us. That’s something we can’t have happen again.”
On Lakers player Lamar Odom:
“He always has good games against us for some reason. He plays well against us. He’s just one of those guys and we can’t find an answer for him.”
Utah Jazz player Carlos Boozer on tonight’s game:
“It just happens. Sometimes you get shots and you just take them although they may not be the right shot at the time. We fought back though and we had a chance. We just couldn’t close it out.”
On the loss tonight against the Lakers:
“It’s tough because you use so much energy to try and come back in the game but they got a little bit more of a cushion. They got more legs, more finishers and they won the game. It’s tough though because we could’ve been second and now we’ve dropped all the way to fourth or something like that. It’s tough on us but we’ll bounce back. We’ve got 5 games left and we’re taking one game at a time and hopefully we can win them all.
On Lakers player Lamar Odom:
“He’s great because he can make plays for himself and he can make plays for others. He’s got Kobe Bryant on one wing, Ron Artest on the other wing and Pau Gasol on the inside. So you can’t really get on him because he’s got all those stars around him so he’s in a position when he gets to go one-on-one and have freedom.”
Utah Jazz player Paul Millsap on how hard it is to come back when you fall behind against the Lakers early in the game:
“It’s tough when you fall behind, especially against a good team like the Lakers. Once they get a lead, they’re gonna try and hold it and sit on it. So it’s how we start the game and finish the game and all of the four quarters.”
Lakers vs. Jazz Game Preview
By ANTHONY GIORNALISTA
Following a tough road trip, the Los Angeles Lakers could struggle to get back on track Friday night - even though they haven't lost at home to their opponent in more than four years.
The Lakers look to avoid a third straight loss and extend a 13-game home winning streak against the surging Utah Jazz, one of their closest pursuers for the Western Conference lead.
Los Angeles (54-21) opened a five-game trip with a 92-83 win over San Antonio on March 24, only to drop three of its next four.
"I'm not going to make any excuses," said Ron Artest, 4 of 22 from 3-point range during the trip. "We definitely tried our best. On this trip, our best wasn't good enough."
A 109-92 loss to Atlanta on Wednesday night gave the Lakers consecutive defeats for the fourth time this season.
Los Angeles let the Hawks shoot 54.2 percent and surrendered more than 100 points for a third straight game.
"We're not playing well defensively," guard Kobe Bryant said. "This trip was consistently bad, so we've got to get back to work."
Despite their struggles, the Lakers can secure a third consecutive Pacific Division title with a win over the Jazz (50-26) and a Phoenix loss to Detroit earlier in the evening.
However, Utah has won eight of 10 to move within 4 1/2 games of Los Angeles for the conference lead.
"Every game is a huge game for us," Jazz forward Carlos Boozer said. "We've got to take care of us. We can't really worry about everybody else."
The Lakers, though, have reason to be confident if they met the Jazz in the playoffs for the third straight year.
Los Angeles' 13 straight home wins against Utah, dating to Jan. 1, 2006, include six postseason victories over the past two seasons. The Lakers are averaging 114.3 points and shooting 51.4 percent during that streak, winning 101-77 on Dec. 9 in the only meeting at Staples Center this season.
A loss Friday would give Los Angeles three straight for the second time in a month. Prior to a skid in early March, the Lakers hadn't lost three in a row since January 2008.
Andrew Bynum's absence hasn't helped. The 7-footer has missed six straight games due to a strained Achilles' and could miss another 10 days.
Pau Gasol has moved from forward to center in place of Bynum. Gasol has 33 rebounds over his past two games and 39 in his last two contests against Utah.
Though Bryant was out with an ankle sprain, the Lakers won 96-81 in Utah on Feb. 10. Bryant is shooting 51.3 percent (20 for 39) from 3-point range over his last 12 home games against the Jazz.
Utah's Deron Williams is coming off a strong performance, posting a season-best 19 assists in a 128-104 win over Golden State on Wednesday night.
Williams was held to eight points - the seventh time this season the All-Star failed to reach double figures - but he helped the Jazz finish with 37 assists on 46 field goals. Utah is averaging 110.4 points over its last 11 games.
"We're playing with a lot of confidence right now," Williams said.
Boozer is averaging 24.3 points and shooting 78.6 percent (33 for 42) in his last three contests. He has been held to fewer than 13 points, though, in three straight games versus the Lakers.
Los Angeles leads the season series 2-1.
Copyright 2010 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited
Ron Artest (left heel bruise/sprained left thumb) is probable.
Andrew Bynum (left Achilles strain) is out.
Shannon Brown (sprained right thumb) will play.
Sasha Vujacic (sprained right shoulder) is probable.
Kobe Bryant (avulsion fracture, right index finger) will play.
Luke Walton (pinched nerve, back) is out indefinitely.
Andrei Kirilenko (strained left calf muscle) is out.
SEASON & SERIES
The Lakers currently lead their season series with the Jazz 2-1 with one game remaining. Los Angeles has won each of its last three season series with the Jazz: 2006-07 (2-1), 2007-08 (3-1) and 2008-09 (2-1). The Jazz and Lakers have now met 149 times in the regular season (95-54) and 130 times since the Jazz moved to Utah (82-49). In the postseason, the Lakers have split four series with the Jazz, winning the 2008 Western Conference Semifinals 4-2 and the 2009 Western Conference First Round 4-1. The Lakers are 7-3 in their last 10 regular season games with the Jazz. The Lakers are 17-3 all-time against the Jazz at STAPLES Center during the regular season and have won their last seven straight (13 in a row including the playoffs). In Utah, the Lakers have gone 4-6 in their last 10 regular season games at EnergySolutions Arena. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are 25-12 against Utah in the regular season. In their first meeting of the season 12/9/09 at STAPLES Center, the Lakers held the Jazz to the third fewest fourth quarter points (6) in the NBA’s shot clock era. In 2006, the Lakers scored a series record 132 points in a 132- 102 victory 11/30/06 at STAPLES Center, improving upon the old mark of 131 points achieved at Utah 12/4/86. In that game, Kobe Bryant established a new series-high with 52 points against the Jazz, surpassing his own record of 43 points (3/22/05) while also bettering Adrian Dantley’s Jazz mark of 50 established in November of 1979. Bryant’s 30-point 3rd quarter tied his own franchise record and is tied for the 4th- highest scoring quarter in NBA history. In 45 games against the Jazz (37 starts), Bryant is averaging 26.2 points. Additionally, Lakers guard Derek Fisher played the 2006-07 season for Utah, appearing in all 82 games, starting 61 and averaging 10.1 points and 3.3 assists in 27.9 minutes.
With a victory Friday night over Utah AND a Phoenix Suns loss at Detroit, the Lakers would clinch the Pacific Division title. Meeting their magic number would mark the 21st Pacific Division title in their 40th season in the division. With their victory over Minnesota and the Rockets loss to Boston on March 19, the Lakers became the 1st team in the West to clinch a playoff spot, marking their 57th postseason appearance in 62 NBA seasons as well as their 29th playoff berth in 31 seasons since Dr. Jerry Buss purchased the team prior to the 1979-80 season. Additionally, the Lakers are FOUR games ahead of Dallas in the loss column with SEVEN games remaining in the regular season as they move towards securing the #1 seed in the West. Since the NBA went to the Conference format prior to the 1970-71 season, the Lakers have held the #1 seed 15 times (1972, 1977, 1980, 1982-90, 2000, 2008, 2009), winning the West 12 times and the NBA Championship on eight occasions. The Lakers have owned the #1 seed 10 times since the current format featuring 16 teams was instituted prior to the 1984 NBA Playoffs.
THIRD TIME’S A CHARM…USUALLY
With consecutive losses at New Orleans and at Atlanta, the Lakers are in the midst of their 12th two-game losing streak since acquiring Pau Gasol on February 1, 2008 (10 regular season, 2 playoff streaks). Of the previous 11 two-game skids, only once have the Lakers dropped three straight with consecutive losses 3/4 at Miami, 3/5 at Charlotte and 3/7 at Orlando (their FIRST three-game losing streak since January of 2008). On four occasions, the Lakers played the third game of the streak without Gaso, snapping each of them with victories 3/18/08 at Dallas, 3/30/08 vs. Washington in overtime, 11/17/09 vs. Detroit and 1/10/10 vs. Milwaukee. Prior to their early March 3-game skid, the Lakers last three-game losing streak came just a week before the trade, with consecutive losses at San Antonio, at Dallas and vs. Cleveland from 1/23/08 through 1/27/08. Additionally, the Lakers loss at Orlando marked the first time that Los Angeles has been swept on a three-game road trip since April of 2005 when they lost 4/2 at San Antonio (94-95), 4/3 at Memphis (82-102) and 4/5 at Phoenix (99-125). They did, however, go 0-4 on a four-game road trip in March of 2007, falling 3/4 at Phoenix (94-99), 3/6 at Minnesota (107-117 2OT), 3/7 at Milwaukee (90-110) and 3/9 at Philadelphia (92-108). The last team to lose three straight regular season games and win a NBA Championship was the 2007-08 Boston Celtics, who suffered one 3-game losing streak in February of ‘08. The last Lakers team to lose three straight games and win a NBA Championship was the 2001-02 Lakers, who dropped three in a row in February of ‘02.
GASOL BECOMES FIRST LAKER SINCE SHAQUILLE O’NEAL TO POST MULTIPLE 25-POINT/20-REBOUND GAMES IN SAME SEASON
In the Lakers 108-100 loss at New Orleans March 29, Pau Gasol posted 26 points and a career-high tying 22 rebounds, marking the second time this season that Gasol has had at least 25 points and 20 rebounds in a game. Gasol also recorded 26 points and 22 rebounds in a 107-106 victory over Milwaukee on December 16. The last Laker to have multiple 25-point/20-rebound games in a season was Shaquille O'Neal, doing so three times during the 2003-04 season. Zach Randolph is the only other player in the NBA with two 25-point/20-rebound games this season. Furthermore, the game marks Gasol’s 4th 20-plus rebound game this season, tying him on the year with Joakim Noah (4 20-plus rebound games) but trailing Dwight Howard (8 20-plus rebound games) and Marcus Camby (6 20-plus rebound games) this season.
BRYANT PASSES ALEX ENGLISH FOR 12th ON NBA’S ALL-TIME SCORING LIST
With 24 points 3/24 at San Antonio, Kobe Bryant passed Alex English (25,613) for 12th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Bryant (25,723), who earlier this season moved past Jerry West (25,192) for 1st on the Lakers all-time scoring list and 14th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, passed Reggie Miller (25,279) for 13th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list 2/24 at Dallas. Next on the all-time list ahead of Bryant are John Havlicek (11th/26,395) and Dominique Wilkins (10th/26,668). Bryant passed West with a slam dunk at the 4:14 mark of the third quarter February 1 at Memphis, finishing the game with 44 points (West’s retired number). Less than a month earlier, with 22 points 1/5 vs. Houston, Bryant moved past Patrick Ewing (24,815) for 15th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. In November, with his free throw at the 6:07 mark of the third quarter 11/19 vs. Chicago, Bryant moved past Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (24,176) for 2nd on the Lakers all-time franchise scoring list while with 41 points 11/6 vs. Memphis, Bryant moved past Allen Iverson for 16th on the all-time list. Bryant has been steadily moving up the list the last few years and last season alone, passed Charles Barkley (23,757) for 17th, Robert Parish (23,334) for 18th, Adrian Dantley (23,177) for 19th, Elgin Baylor (23,149) for 20th, Clyde Drexler (22,195) for 21st, Gary Payton (21,813) for 22nd and Larry Bird (21,791) for 23rd.
GASOL EARNS FIRST WESTERN CONFERENCE PLAYER OF THE WEEK AWARD THIS SEASON; 6th CAREER HONOR
On March 22, the NBA announced that Pau Gasol had earned Western Conference Player of the Week honors for games played Monday, March 15 through Sunday, March 21. The award is the 6th of his career (previous awards came for weeks ending 2/22/09, 2/8/09, 3/26/06, 3/2/06 and 1/2/05) and 3rd as a Laker. One of four Lakers (Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum, Shaquille O’Neal) to win the award since it became separated by Conference and one of nine to win the weekly honor overall since its inception, Gasol averaged 24.8 points (.685 FG%), 11.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.00 blocks in helping lead Los Angeles to a 4-0 week: 3/15 @ GS: 26 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists; 3/16 @ SAC: 28 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists; 3/19 vs. MIN: 17 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists; 3/21 vs. WAS: 28 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists.
EFFICIENT FROM THE FLOOR & ON THE GLASS
In the Lakers 106-99 victory over Sacramento March 16, Pau Gasol scored 28 points on 12-of-14 shooting while grabbing 12 rebounds. Gasol is the third different player this season to shoot at least 85% from the field (minimum 10 attempts) while recording at least 10 rebounds in a game. Earlier this season, Andrew Bynum totaled a season-high 27 points on 12-of-14 shooting and 12 rebounds 1/27 vs. Indiana. Dwight Howard has had two such games this season as well: 2/24 at Houston (30 points, 11-11 FG, 16 rebounds) and 3/14 vs. Charlotte (27 points, 12-14 FG, 16 rebounds).