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Lakers grind it out in 96-85 victory over Utah Jazz

60592074Wincing in pain over his right knee, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant limped to the sideline for a brief moment, returned to the court as if nothing ever happened and then dialed up his aggressiveness.

Bothered with a stomach flu that just wouldn't go away, Lakers forward Lamar Odom headed to the locker room multiple times, returned to the bench soon after each trip and made late-game contributions.

And featuring all the effects of a back-to-back game, including lack of energy, focus and execution, the Lakers overcame those first-half lapses by simply willing themselves to grind out a 96-85 victory Friday over the Utah Jazz.

The magnitude of a win over Utah doesn't mean much. The loss actually officially eliminated the Jazz from playoff contention for the first time since the 2005-06 season, closing a frustrating season that involved Coach Jerry Sloan's resignation and the trade of point guard Deron Williams. The significance of this win presents to the Lakers both literal and symbolic value. The literal: the Lakers extended their winning streak to nine games, the longest stretch at any point this season, improved their record to 17-1 since the All-Star break and closed the gap for first place in the Western Conference to 1 1/2 games behind San Antonio, whose overtime loss to Houston marked its sixth consecutive defeat. The symbolic: the Lakers fought back in this game much like the way they did after a inconsistent stretch leading into the All-Star break. It featured the Lakers finding the proper energy and making tactical adjustments.


That's not how Lakers Coach Phil Jackson initially characterized the game to ESPN's Heather Cox, describing the Lakers trailing Utah, 28-22, and being outrebounded, 17-8, after the first quarter as being "stuck in mud." He envisioned the Lakers would go through such problems, knowing a late-night flight and check-in time following a competitive and emotional double-digit win Thursday over Dallas would make it hard to replicate against Utah. A one-game suspension to Lakers forward Matt Barnes for his ejection against the Mavericks didn't help, either. But the Lakers overcame those obstacles in erasing a 17-point first-half deficit.

It actually started in that first quarter where the Lakers closed out that stretch on a 9-2 run, but the Jazz's 11-0 run in the second quarter to make it 41-24 nullified that. The Lakers' 10-0 run to end the first half closed the gap to 48-42, but it didn't erase the fact the Lakers were outrebounded (28-18), outperformed in the paint (30-10) and neutralized from the field (39.4% shooting). That all changed in the second half. Ron Artest and Derek Fisher (15 points on four-of-six shooting) each hit three-pointers after Bryant threw an extra swing pass. In frustration over Kyrylo Fesenko outperforming him in the paint, Andrew Bynum (11 points on four-of-seven shooting, five rebounds, three blocks) threw down his first field goal in anger, cutting the Lakers' deficit to 56-53 with 8:10 remaining in the third quarter. And Bryant's anger at Fesenko for throwing the ball at his shoe after committing a hard foul was contained by Pau Gasol (16 points on six-of-10 shooting, nine rebounds) holding him back from retaliating, but he did so in his own way, scoring his 21 points by drawing trips to the free-throw line (seven of 10) more than hitting shots from the field (six of 14).

The Lakers closed out the third quarter with a 71-64 lead following a 9-2 run with Fisher tying the score, Shannon Brown drawing a goaltend, Steve Blake converting on a fast-break layup and Odom draining a three-pointer before time expired to finish it. The Lakers never lost the lead after that point, showing their willingness to overcome sluggishness to fight for a victory.

That concept became foreign for the Lakers after starting the season 8-0, coasting through a home-heavy schedule with few challenges and feeding a belief that they were unstoppable. Even during the Lakers' latest stretch run, their effort against Utah revealed they are. But that's the beauty of what makes the Lakers' mark since the All-Star break even more special. They finally learned that they are supposed to go through adversities that seem hard to overcome. The Lakers managed to do that by relying on everything that has gotten them to this point and overcoming all of the challenges surrounding them from deciding their fate.

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at

Top photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant reacts after hitting a three-pointer during a second-half rally that helped defeat the Jazz, 96-85, on Friday night in Utah. Credit: Steve C Wilson / Associated Press

Bottom photo: Lakers forward Lamar Odom drives down the lane against Utah power forward Paul Millsap in the first half Friday night. Credit: Russ Isabella / US Presswire

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Fun stats of the night:
Kobe Bryant is 5 made free throws away from 6th place in all time free throws scored
6 steals away from 18th all time list of steals
2 3pters away from 18th spot on all time 3pt shots
934 points away from shaq

Nice stats Diandra!


Nice win Lakeshow!!!

Jason Cherry, not suspended????? Crazy as Cherry. JUST CRAZY!


Sorry, but after all the calls for his return, I have to start a "Mamba24 Please Do The Right Thing And Stay Off The Blog" bandwagon.

For those who know, you'll join. For those who don't: think about it. I don't take this lightly.

Mamba24 - be a good guy and stay away.

Posted by: 63 Footer | April 01, 2011 at 09:22 AM


Is this an April Fools prank?

What was this all about? I'm confused.... :(


PSP Sir,

You being part of the security/ intel here, Do you know any of this ISH? I'm confused.


Go go go Lakers three peat and counting...Kobe the greatest player of all time despite a lot of injuries still the best in NBA today.Hope he gets the MVP...

Snub Phil Jackson, Kobe Bryant again?

GREAT read...

[sneak peak]

It may not be today.

It may not be tomorrow.

It may not be next week or even next year.

But one day the media is going to have to answer for its sins.

One day we're going to have to explain how Phil Jackson, arguably the greatest coach in the history of the game, has only one coach of the year award to his name, and his top current player, Kobe Bryant, the best player of his generation, has one regular-season MVP trophy.

Just one I tell you.

Hate to admit this, but i seriously thought the Lakers would lose to the JAZZ. Anywho thank God that they are focused. Who cares if the Lakers are fortunate enough to end with the #1 seed in the Western Conference. If they are going to win the title to 3peat, they have to beat the best. A champion never takes the easy way out.

Kobe is not gonna get MVP consideration from any Journalist or anyone who has credentials to vote for MVP. They all have a HARD ON for Derrick Rose, who averages the same points as Kobe, but has the most turnovers for a point guard. A player that shies from the big shot. How does Derrick Rose fare with the Western Conference PG'S.

This has to be an April Fools thing. Mamba24 asked not to return? WTH?

last nights win over the jazz might be an even more impressive win than the one over dallas, due to the "emotional-letdown" card they could have played! plus the loss of matt barnes for 1 game.(btw, a stupid suspension from stu(pid) jackson) being down by 17 in the 1st half, the Lakers could have folded their tent and laid down for the rest of the game and no one would have blamed them. maybe seeing that the spurs had lost got them jumpstarted to elevate their game, especially on the defensive end. now with 1 game back in the loss column to the spurs, L.A. is just rolling along. the western conference is right there for the taking! go lakers

Jacob Tucker wins college dunk contest. Though not at the level of his youtube video he was pretty good considering the pressure.

@RSP.... OK, I’ll take a guess at your real identity. Are you Phil AKA puddle?
Posted by: LakerTom

Nice try Tom but no.

weird to see the utah jazz without sloan and williams.. i wonder how many years till they'll be a worthy opponent again

The RSP watched a sports segment the other night on NBA TV that featured Bill and Luke Walton.
The RSP was saddened to see that Bill is not looking to good. Though nothing was mentioned it was pretty obvious the Bill is looking very thin and fragile.
Those UCLA games of yore were real special times for me as a kid and Bill Walton was quite the player, probably the greatest all around center to ever play.
Bill's love of the game, coach Wooden, the winning streak, losing to Notre Dame, the Blazer Title, the injuries, winning a ring with those green weenies, overcoming his speech impediment, to his BB commentary and analyst careers. Bill Walton will always be a favorite of mine.

I can still recall a Sports Mag cover with the big red heads head above the rim grabbing a rebound in a portland uniform. It wasn't SI, wish I could remember.

This was written:

Bobbit, look, have you watched any games recently?

Kobe doesn't play within the offense, his shooting % is below 40 (where as the team % is > 50), he's too slow, he doesn't play defense, his man played a much more efficient game, he doesn't command double/tripple coverage anymore, and the list goes on and on.

So, what do you have say, Bobbit.


Posted by: Terry | April 01, 2011 at 11:21 PM

hmmmm .... Y'all know what's coming right?

Wait for it .....

[ sorry. just watched Archer. Terms of rampagement. ]

For the season, Kobe is shooting 45%.

re: Not playing in the offense. I believe this was the same statement the
last 3 years, which has led to 3 finals appearances, 1 MVP, 2 rings &
& 2 Finals MVP while also having one of the best finals series on record.

re: the double/triple team. Isn't this a no win situation?

If he's a "ball hog" and shoots over 20 times a game, then he's not passing
and playing w/in the offense. Hence, people like you rant.

If he shoots less than 20 times a game, then he is playing w/in the offense.
He gets about 5 assists and 5 rebounds a game, LO, AB, PG & Artest have
good/great nights, and .... people like you rant because he doesn't demand
a triple team.


You should put a permalink to on your site. It
would make my posting much easier. :)

statistics acb

Ron Artest 3
Pau Gasol 20
Andrew Bynum 9
Kobe Bryant 17
Derek Fisher 16
Lamar Odom 14
Steve Blake 11
Luke Walton -3
Shannon Brown 3
Team 90

Paul Millsap 10
Al Jefferson 15
Kyrylo Fesenko 11
Earl Watson 9
CJ Miles 16
Kyle Weaver -2
Jeremy Evans -2
Gordon Hayward 5
Derrick Favors 6
Team 68

The "Arrogant 40 year old virgin Kobe hater" I know here seem to hide under multiple handles lately in order to save his face.

How sad.



Panic mode in Chowderland...

They want the bench to take the winning shots instead of the Big 3...LMAO!!!

yeah man KG and pierce try to play hero ball and cnt close out games
why not try wafer or delonte or green 2 close out games? seriously why not gve it a try.

by reb0undwins18 on Apr 2, 2011 1:16 AM EDT

And this is what they think of the Perkins trade...LOL


He's been underperforming
But we have to give him the benefit of the doubt.
It’s not easy to fit into a system so radically different from where you came from.
Green is a very athletic/quick player, Celtics play SLOWWWwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.
But regardless, the Celtics need him to start playing well for the playoffs or this whole trade will be seen as one of the biggest disasters in Celtics history.

by PseudoElite on Apr 2, 2011 12:52 AM EDT

hes averaged 10.4 ppg since arriving... what else as far as points is he supposed to do? and defense is just going to take time...
seems like delonte always gets the benefit of the doubt after and off game but with Green its just him stinking and being an awful acquisition weird..

by JeffGreenForPrez on Apr 2, 2011 12:54 AM EDT

He's afraid to guard and defend. Yes he can shoot when his hands are hot but
provides nothing else yet. He isn’t fitting in to our ‘system’ because we’re a defensive team and he won’t do that. It might……hurt.

by mmbaby on Apr 2, 2011 1:03 AM EDT

he wont do that??? WOW im glad ur inside his head good to know... the celtics always say we play a "TEAM DEFENSE" yet green gets blamed.. very interesting

by JeffGreenForPrez on Apr 2, 2011 1:07 AM EDT

Have you watched him play? Have you seen him get rebounds?

by mmbaby on Apr 2, 2011 2:03 AM EDT


Whats up my friend? The PSP is currently conducting an investigation on the issue but think we may have all fallen to a fools day scam. Tsk Tsk

PSP Officer


Totally agree with LEWSTERS.
At least Kobe is the MVP financially! And Phil as MVCoach financially.

Posted by: Practice Season Police | April 02, 2011 at 07:29 AM

I'm all good PSP Sir. Hope you are too. Yes, I also think it was a fool's day prank. I hope nothing's serious.

BTW, shouldn't we thank Fesenko for the win against Utah? LOL!


No Mamba24? Say it isn't so...

That was a tough game. Drew was getting handled in the first half by that big Russian. The whole team came out with no energy. The Utah team is sort of thrown together with most of their good players hurt or gone, but they were on a mission. We eliminated them from the playoffs on their court. They fought hard.

The fight footage is really funny. The Dallas coach trying to wrap up Matt as he is walking away and back to his bench is priceless. Matt is like, "What is this guy doing? Leave me the *&%# alone!" Matt is hot headed. This is what Kobe wanted. If another team wants to throw around cheap shots, they will have to answer for it. We got your soft right here! It's OK if Matt gets thrown out of a few games here and there. We have Luke… ;-)

SA losing to Huston puts us one loss out of first place. We play each other, so if we both win all of our other games, that will be key. We will end up with the same record by beating them. Since we will have split games this season, it will come down to who has the best conference record. In that scenario, we would win because they have 12 losses against Western Conference teams and we have only 11. Of course, if SA keeps losing, this will be mute... ;-)

Sunday will be tough - the white uniforms, the 3rd game in 4 days, and against a hot young Denver team that has won 5 in a row and has been very, very good post Melo/Big Shot. Nene is a tough match-up for Drew. Nene was 12 and 12 with 6 assists in their game against Sacremento. They played 11 players and their bench had 45 points. The B’s will have to step up. Which reminds me... After all three got tossed out of the game (Shannon was not going to be left out), I will officially start using the word “killer” again.

Go Killer B’s!

Go Lakers!

I am a Lakerholic.

I am very concerned with how teams are playing 'thugball' against us...If this continues, I fear either someone will get hurt on a flagrant foul, or we lose some players to suspensions...

It' the Lakers against the world...Bad enough it seems we are playing 5 vs 8 on a nightly basis, but now with teams headhunting and dirty tactics...the stakes become even bigger...

As much as I enjoy the race for overall HCA , the most important thing I want, is to have a 100% healthy and whole team starting the playoffs...On the same way do I wish our boys to back down to any intimidation...

Lakers Dynasty - The Next Generation...

#17 Coming Up...The Friedman Season!!!

Wow, funny how things change. wasnt too long ago I was reading the same people posting how the lakes should trade Bynum for Melo,let the bandwagon keep rolling.

same people?



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