Lakers vs Utah: Lakers lose tough game to Jazz
The Lakers knew the Utah Jazz would be a tough opponent, a team that would test them and push them and prod them.
All that turned out to be true, with the Lakers having their five-game winning streak snapped Friday night at EnergySolutions Arena by the Jazz.
Deron Williams led the Jazz with 29 points and 12 assists and Al Jefferson had 20 points and eight rebounds.
Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 31 points, including scoring 14 consecutive points during one stretch in the fourth quarter.
The score was tied at 96-96 after Williams made a three-pointer.
Then Bryant lost control of the ball. Williams got it and passed ahead to Raja Bell for a layup.
Ron Artest then missed the next two shots by the Lakers, one off a drive and the other a three-pointer.
That spelled the end for the Lakers and helped the Jazz win its fourth straight game.
Jazz 75, Lakers 72 (end of third quarter)
After building a 19-point lead early in the second quarter, the Lakers were not the same team.
Then again, the Jazz were not the same team once it got into a big hole.
At one point in the third quarter, the Lakers trailed by five points.
Deron Williams began to take control of the game for the Jazz, scoring 20 points and handing out seven assists through three quarters.
Pau Gasol led the Lakers with 21 points and eight rebounds through three quarters.
Kobe Bryant had 17 points through three, but he was just six-for-17 shooting.
Lakers 50, Jazz 46 (end of first half)
The Lakers opened a 19-point lead early in the second quarter, making it look easy.
But the Jazz responded with its second unit of Francisco Elson, C.J. Miles, Ronnie Price and Earl Watson to close the gap.
Elson had three rebounds, Watson had eight points and four assists and Price had seven points in the first half.
The Lakers were outscored by 12 points, 29-17, in the second quarter.
The big rebounding edge the Lakers had in the first quarter was nearly erased by the Jazz. At halftime, the Lakers had 23 rebounds, the Jazz 22.
Lakers 33, Jazz 17 (end of first quarter)
The Lakers used the length of 7-foot-tall Pau Gasol and 6-10 Lamar Odom to dominate the smaller Jazz in the first quarter.
Not only that, but the Lakers out-rebounded the Jazz in the first quarter, 13-5. Gasol and Odom had five rebounds each in the first.
The Lakers had it easy against the Jazz in the first quarter, making 68.4% of their shots.
The Lakers know how physical the game will be against the Utah Jazz on Friday night.
That meant that the Lakers had to mentally prepare themselves for bodies to be pushed and banged around.
The Lakers know the Jazz will execute its offense and will run when it gets the chance.
-- Broderick Turner, reporting from Salt Lake City
Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant beats Jazz point guard Deron Williams to the basket in the first half Friday night. Credit: Steve C. Wilson / Associated Press