Bryant, Odom Lift Lakers Past Jazz
L.A. Lakers 94, Utah 88
LOS ANGELES, Feb. 13 (Ticker) -- Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom had the Los Angeles Lakers on course for an easy win. It turned out to be a little tougher than they thought.
Bryant collected 23 points and a career-high seven steals and Odom narrowly missed a triple-double with 17 points, nine rebounds and eight assists as the Lakers hung on for a 94-88 triumph over the Utah Jazz.
"I thought we had a really good defensive first half," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "We found momentum at the beginning of the second quarter and established a lead."
The Lakers eventually built the lead to 26 when Bryant drilled a 3-pointer to make it 48-22 with 3 1/2 to go in the period.
"We did a good job of digging in defensively," Bryant said. "We just tried to keep them uncomfortable. Try to take them out of their sets and try and take them out a little bit of the things they like to do."
"They did a good job of getting after us," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. "We looked like we were moving in mud."
Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko, who scored just 10 points on 2-of-12 shooting, knew Sloan was going to rip into the team at halftime.
"Of course, coach was mad and everyone understands," Kirilenko said. "We can't play like this. I think we did a pretty good job of picking ourselves up in the second half."
Utah, which shot just 24 percent (8-of-33) and committed 13 turnovers in the first half, closed the second quarter on a 10-2 run to get within 18 and then continued to chip away in the third. Devin Brown scored 11 of his career-best 25 points in the third period as the Jazz got as close as 64-58 with 2:15 left in the session. Jackson criticized his team for getting complacent and allowing Utah to get back in the game.
"Our particular team right now is not a team that does well resting on any kind of sense of accomplishment," Jackson said. "We still have to drive ourselves and drive the team forward."
However, Bryant responded with a jumper and 3-pointer on the Lakers' next two possessions. Los Angeles managed to hold off Utah the rest of the way to win for the eighth time in its last nine home games.
"They finally played a little in the third quarter but we weren't able to come all the way back," Sloan said. "We turned it over 23 times and gave them 28 points."