GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Los Angeles Lakers 22 20 29 25 96
Play by Play Utah Jazz 28 20 16 21 85

Bryant, Lakers eliminate Jazz from playoff hunt


SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Kobe Bryant scored 21 points, Lamar Odom added 16 and the Los Angeles Lakers erased a 17-point first-half deficit Friday night to beat Utah 96-85 and eliminate the Jazz from the playoff race.

Utah (36-40) becomes the first team in NBA history to start 15-5 and 27-13 and not make the playoffs.

The Lakers outscored the Jazz 52-35 in the second half to win their ninth straight game, and pull within 1 1/2 games of first-place San Antonio in the Western Conference.

C.J. Miles scored 24 points for Utah, which started its 17th different lineup and had only nine healthy players, including one who just joined the team two days earlier and was playing out of position.

The game in all likelihood was the last in Salt Lake City for Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who has said this will be his final season.

As Lakers coach, Jackson was just 10-12 in games played in Utah.

"This isn't in my zone of comfort," Jackson said before the game. "I may just drive down here (from my ranch in Montana) and see a game sometime."

The Lakers were coming off a 110-82 pounding of Dallas on Thursday night but were without forward Matt Barnes, who was suspended without pay after getting into a fight with Mavericks guard Jason Terry.

The Jazz jumped to a 26-13 lead with 3 minutes left in the first quarter following Miles' dunk off an alley-oop pass from Earl Watson, who had a few words for a Lakers fan seated courtside.

Utah increased its lead to 41-24 after an 11-0 run in the second quarter. Rookie Gordon Hayward had five points during the run, while forward Derrick Favors scored off a baseline drive and Paul Millsap added a putback dunk. Guard Kyle Weaver, called up from the D-League on Wednesday, capped the run with a pair of free throws.

The Lakers finished the half on a 10-0 run of their own, including Bryant's driving layup and free throws that pulled Los Angeles to 48-42 at halftime.

The Jazz dominated the first half, outscoring the Lakers 30-10 in the paint, outrebounding them 28-18 and limiting them to 39.4 percent shooting.

Miles, who had been in a shooting slump, started 5 of 6 and led all scorers in the first half with 13 points.

It was all Lakers in the second half.

Derek Fisher tied the score at 62 on a 3-pointer with 4:06 left in the third quarter, and Shannon Brown gave them the lead for good when Kyrylo Fesenko was called for goaltending.

The 7-1 Fesenko was making only his third career start and first this season as the Jazz were without starters Andrei Kirilenko, Raja Bell and Devin Harris, and reserve guard Ronnie Price.

Bryant went down hard with 9:01 left in the third quarter after being tripped up by Miles. Bryant then had another hard fall on what was ruled an intentional foul by Fesenko.

Notes: Jazz Hall of Famer John Stockton was at Friday night's game with his family, apparently in town to see his son play in a basketball exhibition. ... Al Jefferson has started every game for the Jazz this season but this was his first start at power forward. ... Jackson was named Western Conference coach of the month on Friday and Bryant the Western Conference player of the month.

Copyright 2011 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

1.5 Games back of San Antonio after the Spurs lost a sixth straight game on Friday night, and the Lakers won a ninth straight. The Spurs looked to have things all but sewn up, but a look at their brutal schedule to close March (plus Tim Duncan’s ankle injury) left the door slightly ajar. Now, the door’s ready to be kicked down, with L.A. just one back in the loss column and an April 12th showdown looming.

9 Straight wins for the Lakers, their longest streak of the year. L.A. opened the season at 8-0 and won their first eight out of the All-Star break before falling to Miami, then starting the current streak two nights later in Dallas.

10 Straight Jazz misses forced by the Lakers to close the first half, allowing L.A. to go on a 10-0 run at the other end.

23 Margin between L.A. and Utah in a 39-16 run across the end of the second (10-0) and entire third quarter (29-16) that turned the game on its head. Then came an 8-0 run to start the fourth quarter, the game then essentially over.

30 Points in the paint for the Jazz in the first half to just 10 from the Lakers, their aggressiveness going to the rim allowing for an early lead. That changed markedly in the second half, when L.A. closed up its own lane and made some music in that of the Jazz.

View More Photos

Points Bryant 21, 6-14 FG
Rebounds Gasol 9, 2 OFF 7 DEF
Assists Blake, Bryant 4
Steals Blake, Gasol 1
Blocks Bynum 3


Lakers coach Phil Jackson on the difference between the first half and the second half:
"I think we were down 17 points in first half and we led by 18 in the second half. That was it. Seventeen and 18. We started playing defense and they turned the ball over a few times. It changed the game."

On the team's effort after the game last night against Dallas:
"We really wanted to slow the game down and they were very good in transition early on. You know, we weren't ready to get back on defense and that cost us big. We were able to do the game and the pace we wanted to do in the second half."

Lakers' Kobe Bryant on the team's adjustments at halftime:
"Well, do a better job on the boards and keeping them outside the paint. They had so many points in the first half inside the paint and we did a much better job in the second half making them stay on the perimeter."

On the importance of the last seven games:
"I mean they are important because we want to win each game. We're playing really well and we want to try and keep it going and see where we end up."

Lakers' Lamar Odom on playing the Jazz at home:
"Anytime you play this team here on their home court, you're playing for pride. It's one of those games you want to play well."

On the slow start:
"By the time we got to bed it was 4 or 5 in the morning for some of us; we started off slow. Coming into the half we wanted to cut it to 10 and we were able to cut it to six and we kind of put ourselves into a position where we wanted to be and did all the small things to in the second half to come back and cut into that lead."

Lakers' Pau Gasol on the game:
"We obviously came out really flat. (The game last night) obviously had an impact on our start. They took advantage of it. They were playing with more energy, better than we were at the time but then we picked it up. We acted at the right time. We started playing better, playing defense, getting stops, getting rebounds and then executing better on the other end."


Utah Jazz Head Coach Tyrone Corbin on the game:
"Well, I thought we did a pretty good job in the first half of really executing what we talked about doing in the game before the game, and the pre-game game plan was to execute the offense, control the tempo of the game by pushing the ball up the floor, making them play against our half-court sets, and in the first half we were 30 to 10 in points in the paint, so we executed pretty good."

On the foul situation:
"Well, it hurt a lot in the third quarter. I mean, had two big guys, Al [Jefferson] and Paul [Millsap] both had four, and we just had to try and buy some time, and they made the run right at that time."

C.J. Miles on the second half:
"They locked in and took us out of our stuff a little bit. We had open shots I think, that were quick shots but they were open and when you miss those shots it allows them to get on the break. And us being up seven and then us being down twelve really fast."

On being eliminated from the playoffs:
"Its tough, that's the goal. That's the first goal of the season is to make the playoffs. Then you start talking about how high you want the seed, this and that. But the first goal is to make the playoffs, especially being on a team that's made the playoffs the last five years, four years. It's been tough. It's been a tough up and down season especially the second half. You play hard, we compete that's all we can do every night is go out and compete. Its ironic that the people that push you out of the playoffs the last four years eliminate you from getting in the playoffs too, isn't it."

Al Jefferson on the end of the game:
"I think, like always, we get away from what we are doing. We run the offense, going with the first, second, third option, getting good shots. In the second half we let 'no calls' get us out of our game. We should have been getting back. Every mistake we made, they got something good out of it. That's what you go against when you play the defending champs. They'll make you pay. For the most part I felt we played pretty good, with a lot of heart, but you just can't make that many mistakes."

On not making the playoffs:
"It's rough, but at the same time it's motivation. This thing is going to turn around for us and I think everyone in this locker room knows that. It's motivation for everyone to go and work on their game this summer. I think Ty was thrown into a tough situation in the middle of the season and I think he is doing a wonderful job as the coach and getting us playing harder."

Earl Watson on the game:
"It's very disappointing. We control our own destiny. We stopped executing, we stopped swinging the ball, we stopped going for the ball defensively. I think we stopped doing the extra to get us stops. In the second half they just kind of took over. We can't keep making excuses. I think we make more excuses than any team. We need to stop making excuses and find ways to win games. Effort, energy, focus and unselfishness is the way you have to focus on winning games and until that point we are going to have highs and lows."



The Los Angeles Lakers have gone 16-1 since the All-Star break to move within striking distance of San Antonio for the top spot in the Western Conference.

Though the Lakers likely will be short-handed Friday night, that may not matter much when they visit the injury-riddled Utah Jazz.

Los Angeles (54-20) saw three players ejected following a pair of fourth-quarter skirmishes in a 110-82 rout of Dallas on Thursday.

Steve Blake took exception to a hard foul on a two-handed shove by Dallas' Jason Terry, and the ensuing tussle led to them being tossed. Matt Barnes came to Blake's defense, and also was ejected with the Mavs' Brendan Haywood. Shannon Brown was thrown out after a separate incident.

"This is a family here," Barnes said. "So if someone comes and hits your brother, pushes your brother, then you definitely have their back. And that's the case here."

Despite the ejections, and possible looming suspensions, Kobe Bryant said incidents such as this can do a team good.

"It brings us closer together, simple as that," said Bryant, who wasn't involved in either fracas, and is averaging 34.3 points over his last four games after finishing with 28. Andrew Bynum added 18 points and 13 rebounds, and Pau Gasol chipped in 20 points as Los Angeles pulled within 2 1/2 games of the struggling Spurs, who will try to avoid their sixth loss in a row earlier Friday night.

Following narrow victories over Phoenix in triple overtime and the Los Angeles Clippers last week, the Lakers have started winning in dominating fashion again, blowing out New Orleans and the Mavericks by a combined 46 points.

"It just shows that we're geared up," Bryant told the NBA's official website. "We're getting really close to being ready and we're locked in and focused. When we're like that, we're a tough team to beat."

The Lakers convincingly beat the Jazz in the most recent meeting as Bryant scored 21 and Gasol 20 in a 120-91 victory on Jan. 25.

The Jazz (36-39) come in having dropped six straight, and out of the playoff picture by going 5-16 since Ty Corbin replaced longtime coach Jerry Sloan. Utah fell 100-95 in overtime Monday against Washington, which entered the game an NBA-worst 1-35 on the road.

C.J. Miles scored a team-high 17 points, but was 3 of 12 from 3-point range and 1 of 4 in overtime.

The Jazz have not lost seven straight since a nine-game skid from March 4-19, 2005.

"It don't hurt no more than it did against the second-best team in the West, the Mavericks," forward Paul Millsap said referring to Saturday's 94-77 loss. "It's losing, period."

Making matters worse, starters Andrei Kirilenko (bruised nerve in left knee), Devin Harris (strained hamstring) and Raja Bell (strained left calf) have been ruled out against the Lakers. Backup guard Ronnie Price also is out indefinitely with a strained leg muscle.

Rookies Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors logged considerable minutes, scoring 12 and 11, respectively. Corbin lauded their performances and the two will be expected to contribute more given the number of injuries.

"The young guys were playing well," Corbin said. "They played hard and I thought they deserved to be on the floor."

Al Jefferson had 16 rebounds to go with 15 points, but Corbin did not play Jefferson in overtime. Rumors swirled of a rift between the two, but both insisted there is no issue.

The Jazz defeated the Lakers 102-96 on Nov. 26 despite 31 points from Bryant.

Copyright 2011 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 Kobe Bryant (sprained left ankle) will play.
Devin Ebanks (stress fracture, left tibia) is out.
Theo Ratliff (left knee surgery) is questionable.

Raja Bell (sprained right foot) is out.
Devin Harris
(starined right hamstring) is out.
Andrei Kirilenko
(bruised peroneal nerve in left knee) is out.
Mehmet Okur
(lower back rehab) is out.
Ronnie Price
(left leg and shin) is out.

11/26 - LAL @ UTA L 96-102
01/25 - UTA @ LAL W 120-91
04/01 - LAL @ UTA
04/05 - UTA @ LAL

It's a new era in Utah Jazz basketball. Since the last time we saw Utah hall of fame coach Jerry Sloan retired and they traded their best player. The Jazz are 5-16 under new coach Ty Corbin. They have lost six games in a row but have three days off before our game to regroup. In addition to trading Deron Williams, injuries have played a big part in the Utah struggles. Okur is out for the season, Kirilenko, Harris and Bell have been listed as out for our game. Price is doubtful and they have signed Kyle Weaver to a ten day contract to help in the backcourt.

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The Lakers split the first two games of their season-series with Utah 1-1 with two games remaining after taking last season's series from the Jazz 3-1. The Lakers have taken each of the last four season series from Utah: 2006-07 (2-1), 2007-08 (3-1), 2008-09 (2-1), 2009-10 (3-1). The Jazz and Lakers have met 152 times in the regular season (97-55) and 134 times since the Jazz moved to Utah (84-50). The Lakers are 7-3 in their last 10 regular season games against the Jazz. The Lakers are 19-3 all- time against the Jazz at STAPLES Center during the regular season and have won their last nine straight at home (17 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 27-13 against Utah in the regular season. On 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 48 games against the Jazz (40 starts), Bryant is averaging 26.1 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. In the postseason, the Lakers and Jazz have met six times (1988, 1997, 1998, 2008, 2009, 2010) with the Lakers advancing on four occasions: 1988 Western Conference Semifinals (4-3), 2008 Western Conference Semifinals (4-2), 2009 Western Conference First Round 4-1 and 2010 Western Conference Semifinals 4-0.

With driving lay-up at the 10:25 mark of the fourth quarter 3/31 vs. Dallas, Lamar Odom scored his 12,000th career point in his 821st career regular season game. In doing so, Odom became just the 23rd player in NBA history to reach 12,000 points, 7,000 rebounds and 3,000 assists and the 9th fastest to do so in terms of games. Only Larry Bird (680 games), Kevin Garnett (681 games), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (691 games), Wilt Chamberlain (691 games), Chris Webber (695), Elgin Baylor (716 games), Bill Russell (748 games) and Charles Barkley (762 games) reached those totals faster than Odom (821 games).

Currently in his 15th season and already the longest tenured Laker in franchise history ahead of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Elgin Baylor and Jerry West (14 seasons), Kobe Bryant became the franchise leader in games played with the Lakers win over New Orleans on March 27. Entering the season 72 games behind Abdul-Jabbar (1,093), Bryant's 73rd game this season gave him 1,094 for his career. Bryant now holds the franchise mark for games played in both the regular and postseason (198).

With their victory over Dallas on March 31, the Lakers became just the 5th team since the league introduced the All-Star Game in 1951 to post a 16-1 record (or better) out of the break. Of the other four teams, three (Detroit (1989-90), Chicago (1990-91) and the Lakers (1999-2000)) went on to win the NBA Championship.*

After three Western Conference Player of the Week awards in each of the past three seasons, Kobe Bryant earned his FIRST WC Player of the week award this season for games played Monday, March 21 through Sunday, March 27. The award is the 28th of Bryant's career (26 Western Conference POW, 2 NBA POW), further surpassing Magic Johnson's 18 NBA POW awards as the franchise's all-time leader. Johnson, however, earned each of his Player of the Week nods before the award was separated by Conference prior to the 2001-02 season. Bryant paced the league in scoring, averaging 36.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 6.7 assists, leading the Lakers to a 3-0 week. Leading the Lakers in scoring in all three contests, on March 22, Bryant posted his 107th career 40-point game (season-high 42 points) to go along with 12 rebounds and nine assists in a 139-137 triple-overtime win over Phoenix. Bryant's other WC POW honors came in weeks ending: 11/4/01, 1/20/02, 11/3/02, 12/8/02, 1/12/03, 2/2/03, 2/23/03, 2/17/04, 3/22/04, 11/13/05, 12/18/05, 12/25/05, 1/22/06, 4/16/06, 3/18/07, 3/25/07, 1/13/08, 3/2/08, 4/6/08, 12/28/08, 1/11/09, 3/15/09, 11/22/09, 12/20/09, 12/27/09 and 3/27/11. His two NBA Player of the Week honors came in weeks ending 4/16/00 and 12/24/00. The NBA began the Player of the Week award in 1979-80.

With their 112-104 victory over the Clippers on March 25, the Lakers recorded their league-leading 10TH wire-to-wire win of the season. This season, the Lakers (10) lead the NBA in wire-to-wire victories, followed by the Celtics (9), Nuggets (9), Spurs (9) and Heat (8) through games played 3/31/11. The Lakers other wire-to-wire victories this season came against the Warriors (10/31 vs. GS, 11/21 vs. GS), Grizzlies (11/2 vs. MEM), Wizards (12/7 vs. WAS), Pacers (12/15 @ IND), 76ers (12/31 vs. PHI), Cavaliers (1/11 vs. CLE), Jazz (1/25 vs. Utah) and Hawks (2/22 vs. ATL). Last year, the Lakers claimed NINE wire-to-wire victories (games in which they never trailed); seven during the regular season and two during the 2010 Playoffs (4/18 & 4/27 vs. Oklahoma City). During their previous championship run in 2008-09, the Lakers claimed 11 wire-to- wire victories; nine during the regular season and two during the 2009 Playoffs (4/29 vs. Utah & 5/17 vs. Houston). Last season, the Lakers also lost twice in wire-to-wire fashion (98-107 1/8/10 @ POR and 75-91 3/26/10 @ OKC).

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