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We took a look at the Lakers – Jazz contest while it was happening, entering a thought or three each quarter as L.A. went for its 12th consecutive victory.
Lakers: Luke Walton (though he’s active in the broadcast booth)
Jazz: Andrei Kirilenko, Matt Harpring
Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, Artest, Gasol and Bynum
Jazz: Deron Williams, Wesley Matthews, Ronnie Brewer, Carlos Boozer, Mehmet Okur
Bryant Suffering from Finger, Stomach Ailments
Phil Jackson spent part of his pregame session with the media calling Kobe Bryant the best he’s ever seen at playing through injuries and ailments, and as if to prove him right, Bryant showed up late for the game due to a case of gastroenteritis. Bryant also suffered an avulsion fracture to the index finger on his shooting hand (right) during L.A.’s 104-92 win over Minnesota last night, but neither condition will keep him off the floor.
7:12 Pau Gasol hit his second field goal of the game on a pull-up jumper that doubled as the seventh Lakers make in eight attempts. Bynum had converted an alley-oop, Fisher two jump shots and Artest two layups to get L.A., wearing gold jerseys with the Jazz again sporting throwback green kits, went up 14-9.
5:03 Bryant, trying to figure out his shot, missed for the third straight time. His first attempt was an open three, which went long; his second, a pull-up jumper from the left block that he took with his left hand that went well short, and his third a baseline jumper that rimmed out. The Lakers can live with a few early Bryant misses as he feels out how the splint affects his J, as they may well need him to hit some late in the game when it counts.
1:08 Lamar Odom’s baseline jumper capped an impressive 9-0 Lakers run that opened a 25-20 lead, as Bryant looked to have figured out his jumper with consecutive makes. In other Odom news: a reporter was making fun of another reporter for having a father in law that owned a yacht, so someone asked Odom if he liked boats. He responded that he had nothing against boats, but since he couldn’t swim, they made him pretty queasy. He also doesn’t do roller coasters, meaning his youth trips to Coney Island were just to play hoops or walk on the beach.
8:56 Two free throws from Andrew Bynum and a big swat at the other end halted a strong opening to the second from Utah, which saw the Jazz take a seven-point lead. Luke Walton said on the radio that he thinks Bynum’s timing for blocks has improved considerably of late.
2:44 With L.A. trailing 51-45 into a timeout, I braced behind my computer/media table as the Jazz rolled out a t-shirt gun that looks like it belongs in a war, or at least protecting Fort Knox. Yikes. Anyway … Lakers are doing a good job of sticking in the game despite Utah’s energy and knack for getting to loose balls.
2:16 Derek Fisher continued an excellent first half by notching a steal and drawing a foul on D-Will at the other end before sticking two free throws. Moments later, Fish would hit a tough pull-up J over Williams to get to 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting, already tying his season high in points, to get L.A. within six at the half (59-53). Phil Jackson also talked about how key Fisher’s contributions are in recognizing the sets of his former coach, Jerry Sloan.
8:26 A Ronnie Brewer layup capped a strong opening to the third quarter for Utah by putting the Jazz up by 12, their biggest lead of the game.
8:18 Back-to-back hoops from Artest got him to a career landmark: 10,000 points. He has 12 in the game, trailing Fisher and Bynum’s 13 apiece. Fisher, however, got whistled for his fourth foul on a moving screen, sending him to the bench. The Lakers had been victim of 17 foul calls to that point, to just eight on the Jazz.
0.01.0 Farmar scored on a beautiful 360 layup with a decent amount of contact to bring L.A. within nine going into the final quarter as EnergySolutions Arena’s faithful grew louder by the minute.
7:30 Starting to get a bit interesting? L.A., with Kobe and Pau back in, rolled off six straight points to take Utah’s lead down to 11, taking advantage of two straight Jazz turnovers on offensive fouls.
6:29 Often times, Kobe’s able to battle through sickness and pain as if it weren’t there, but it wasn’t so in the second half as he missed for the sixth straight time. The Jazz were scoring even when they shouldn’t have, with a end-of-shot-clock desperation jumper from Brewer swishing through before a Millsap layup that made it 94-77 with 5:02 to play.
1:11 The Lakers refused to go easily, as Gasol scored four points in a manner of seconds to cut Utah’s lead to 10, but it was too little, too late as Utah held on to win 102-94, sending L.A. to their first loss since the return of Gasol. Bryant was entirely exhausted afterwards, heading to the locker room a few seconds early surely to get back on the IV.
The Lakers will travel home immediately after the game, and leave for a four-game trip through Chicago, Milwaukee, New Jersey and Memphis on Monday morning. Until then, your numbers:
4 Second half assists for the Lakers, for a total of 15. The Jazz moved the ball with more success, nearly doubling L.A. with 29 dimes.
11 Game winning streak snapped with L.A.’s loss, its longest stretch since March and April of 2004.
13 First half points for Derek Fisher, matching his season high, though he scored just two second half points in part due to foul trouble.
16 Point total reached by three Lakers – Ron Artest, Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant, a new season low to lead the team.
51.9 Utah’s field goal percentage for the game, compared to 46.3 percent for L.A.