Read about the Lakers vs. Jazz game as it unfolds. As always, feel free to refresh your browser for live updates throughout the game … On second thought, I guess they wouldn’t technically be “live” updates since you have to press refresh. But whatever.
Lakers: Luke Walton*, Sun Yue
Jazz: Morris Almond, Kyrylo Fesenko, Kosta Koufos
*Walton sprained his ankle in Saturday’s win, partially tearing the deltoid ligament. He’ll be re-evaluated in a week.
Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, Ariza, Odom and Gasol
Jazz: Williams, Brewer, Kirilenko, Boozer and Okur
12:00 Guess where the “Utah Sucks!” chants start? Um, yup, the 300 level. Nice. Meanwhile, “I Love L.A.” isn’t necessarily as much of a adrenaline pusher as “Welcome to the Jungle,” but it’s definitely better than Utah’s four songs in one minute.
11:13 Bryant countered a Brewer jumper with one of his own. Kobe missed his first look in his 5-for-24 Game 3 and made his first in his 16-of-24 Game 4. Just saying. Gasol followed with a hoop, though Utah got a good sign when Okur made a jumper (he was 0-for-3 on Saturday).
8:10 Noticing that Boozer had gotten switched over on him, Bryant immediately burst past the power forward, took off for a big dunk and drew a foul in the process. His two free throws made it 8-6 Lakers.
6:58 Okur did what he did in the regular season by nailing a three. Looked like the Lakers would have to guard the Turk, who nonetheless saw Paul Millsap come off the bench.
5:05 Maybe that would get ‘em going? Bryant tossed an alley-oop to Gasol in transition, which produced the crowd’s biggest yell and preceded an Odom triple that put L.A. up 15-14. Fisher then capped a 7-0 run courtesy of Gasol’s hand off, and the Lakers had a lil’ mojo goin’.
2:58 Yet Utah answered with two quick buckets, and the crowd volume was somewhere like what the noise level would be in a room full of high schoolers taking the SATs.
1:18 L.A.’s sixth turnover of the quarter allowed Brewer a breakaway dunk that put Utah up 22-21 moments after Ariza swatted Williams to produce and Odom fastbreak layup.
0:44.0 I guess his ankle’s feeling OK … Ariza followed an Odom miss with a furious two-handed dunk.
0:24.4 Gasol made a great play, saving a lob pass with one hand and directing it to Vujacic, which the Slovenian used to hit an open three. Williams, however, cradled the ball back and forth as only he can before pulling up for a game-tying jumper heading into the second quarter.
As a whole, it wasn’t the best quarter for the Lakers, who picked their spots on offense and conceded a few too many open looks on defense, but like in games one and two, they seemed to possess an ability to take their game to a level that Utah couldn’t match outside of Salt Lake City.
12:00 L.A. showed a Will Ferrell clip from “Old School,” then showed Ferrell on the Jumbotron. Only in L.A., as they say. On the court, here was your lineup: Brown, Vujacic, Bryant, Odom and Bynum.
11:15 Odom nailed his second triple, a tough shot as the clock was expiring, and had already amassed 10 points with five boards, two blocks and an assist. Then it was Bryant getting in on the three party for the Lakers, pushing the score to 32-26.
8:35 The only starter left on the floor, Bryant scored eight straight points to put his team up 37-29. Vujacic followed with his second triple as Utah fell back on its heels a bit, prompting the return of Williams and Kirilenko.
5:00 Kirilenko hit his fifth field goal in seven attempts, but Ariza countered with his first triple of the game, followed by a drive that produced 1-of-2 free throws. Boy, does he like playing at home .. Remember, Ariza was 13-for-16 from the field in L.A.’s first two wins in this series, and had eight points with four boards, three assists and two blocks.
3:25 Odom continued his strong to quite strong game with another offensive board and put back, pushing his totals to 12 and eight.
Celeb Check: Along with Ferrell, here’s a quick list: Puffy (who got booed by the crowd, I guess East vs. West is still alive?), Leo (wearing a Georgia Bulldogs hat) and Toby Maguire, John McEnroe, Adam Levine, Dustin Hoffman, and of course, Jack.
1:27 Matt Harpring likes to foul people hard, which Gasol already knew, but learned again upon entering the lane. If only Harpring had played on the ’90s Knicks or Heat teams. His resulting two free throws were followed by an Odom layup from Ariza in transition, then two Odom free throws that gave him 16 points and the Lakers a 54-40 lead. This also prompted my dad to text me the following: “LaMar’s new name is LaMan!” I’ll pass that on and see if it sticks.
0:07.1 Bryant put an emphasis on a solid second quarter by collecting a loose ball and swishing a fadeaway to match Odom’s 16 points and send the Lakers into the half up 13 at 56-43.
0:00 L.A. shot 47.6 percent while holding Utah to 40 percent shooting for the half after the Jazz had hit for 55 percent in the first quarter. Bryant, Ariza and Odom were both terrific, and Vujacic provided an early lift off the bench. By the way, “LaMan” isn’t sticking, but thanks for the thought, dog. During TNT’s halftime show, Kenny Smith called Lamar “The Goods,” which is a bit better. Smith also made this astute point: Bryant, Gasol and Odom can all create shots for other Lakers, a massively important and rare quality in the NBA.
11:38 A tough offensive board and pretty pass from Odom got Gasol a layup to open the third, but here’s the stat of the first half: L.A. out-rebounded the Jazz 28-15.
10:32 A four-point possession started with 1-of-2 Gasol free throws and finished with Ariza’s second triple that put L.A. up by 18. Utah hadn’t made a field goal in four minutes (0-of-8), like Scott Norwood in the Super Bowl.
7:59 Okur missed a jumper and Odom went to the line, but my eyes were transfixed on the huge advertisement for TNT’s “Leverage,” coming in July. There’s no way that’s good, right? Still, we appreciate the effort.
4:15 Bryant lost his balance in the open floor, gathered himself, waited for Brewer to fly by and finished a layup to put L.A. up 73-55 and get to 21 points on 7-of-14 shooting. The Jazz were trying to battle, but minus Williams, just didn’t have the horses. Even Boozer, who was very effective in the first four games, had only seven points and seven boards.
3:00 A triple for Kobe preceded two fantastic open floor plays that finally worked the STAPLES crowd into an appreciative frenzy. First up: Vujacic garnered a steal and threw a behind-the-back pass to Bryant, who appeared to be shooting another three that ended up being a bullet pass to Gasol for the pair’s second alley-oop. Second, another Vujacic steal was grabbed by Brown, who couldn’t convert a slightly-off alley-oop pass from Odom, who then simply grabbed the offensive board and laid it back in. That made it 80-58 Lakers as the crowd went wild.
1:31 Marv Albert, Reggie Miller and Craig Sager were giving Mitch Kupchak some credit for acquiring Brown, Ariza and Gasol. Yup. It was Gasol who then canned a jumper, his sixth make in 12 attempts.
The Lakers lead heading into quarter was 19 after Brown’s last-second triple went in and out, and Utah appeared all but dead.
12:00 Dustin Hoffman always gets loose on his wife during “Kiss Cam,” and tonight was no different.
11:27 Millsap opened the quarter with an and-1 over Bynum, but Bryant wasn’t having any kind of comeback, answering immediately with a deep three.
9:28 Josh Powell used a Sasha Vujacic block at the other end to drain a 20-foot jumper, putting L.A. up 89-68 with a lineup of Brown, Vujacic, Bryant, Peezy and Bynum. If the game were on DVR, one might simply fast forward to the predicted outcome. Meanwhile, former Laker player and current Jazz broadcaster Hot Rod Hundley, who’s retiring at the end of the season, got a nice ovation from the crowd.
6:15 That same group of Lakers got outworked by the likes of Ronnie Price, Brewer, Korver, Millsap and Okur, who went on a 9-0 run (all by Millsap) to cut a 20-point lead down to 11. The one thing confirmed in that stretch is that Bynum is way out of rhythm, and got stuck on the wrong end of a mismatch with the quicker, more active Millsap. As a result, Jackson put Ariza, Odom and Gasol back into the game to join Vujacic and Brown.
4:50 Even as Fisher and Bryant checked back in, Utah scored four more points to cap a 13-0 run. Bryant finally stopped the bleeding with a turnaround jumper, but Kirilenko hit a wide-open triple that cut the lead to just six.
3:15 Timeout, Jazz. Sloan would insert Williams, back into the game alongside Price, Korver, Millsap and Okur. L.A. had to get stops twice on one possession as Utah grabbed an offensive board, but the stops were gained nonetheless.
2:04 Another stop, this time in transition, earned Ariza two free throws after Price reached after Williams’ miss, but Ariza missed the first of two foul shots.
1:32 Finally, the dagger. Odom ran out ahead of the fray, received a nice bounce pass from Fisher, and dunked plus the foul. He missed the free throw (after making his first four), but nonetheless had put L.A. up 98-89.
0:11.5 Fittingly, the final point of emphasis on the game was an Odom dunk, which No. 7 followed by high-fiving some of L.A.’s courtside fans…
… Well actually, Ronnie Price – who was flying all over the place all quarter – tried to dunk on Fisher, got fouled and briefly thought about getting in Fisher’s face, resulting in a tech. Nonetheless, seconds later, everyone was hugging it out, particularly Fisher, who got some extra love from Utah’s players as L.A. finally had a chance to exhale. No more Jazz, at least for a season.
The Lakers will now have at least five or six days off, awaiting the finale of the Portland-Houston series that the Rockets lead 3-1 heading into Game 5 in Portland.
Four down, 12 to go for the Lakers.