Lakers vs Utah: Lakers lose to Jazz; Kobe Bryant loses ball late
The Lakers had been riding a high, going 17-1 at point after the All-Star break, winning nine in a row in the process.
But now the Lakers have lost two straight games, the latest to the struggling Utah Jazz Tuesday night at Staples Center.
Kobe Bryant had a chance to give the Lakers the victory, but he lost the ball on a last-second shot as time expired.
It meant that the Lakers now are 3 1/2-games behind the San Antonio Spurs for the best record in the NBA.
Derrick Favors made just one of two free throws for an 85-82 Jazz lead.
Bryant, who finished with 20 points on six-for-18 shooting, tied the game up with a three-pointer with 16.2 seconds left.
Jazz rookie Gordan Haywood was fouled by Bryant on a drive.
Haywood made one of two free throws for an 86-85 Jazz lead with six seconds left. Haywood finished with 22 points, but his miss left the door open for the Lakers.
But Bryant was unable to deliver for the Lakers.
In a game that's struggling for excitement, the Lakers found a little when Andrew Bynum set a career high by taking his 19th rebound. Then he took his 20th. And that was it for the exhilaration.
Both teams continue to shoot poorly, the Lakers stalled at 35.7% and the Jazz at 34.3%. It's ugly.
Lakers 40, Jazz 34 (end of first half)
It was not a pretty game, to be sure.
But the Utah Jazz has a way of making the game ugly, and the Lakers fell right into place.
It was so bad that Kobe Bryant picked up three fouls in the first half and was forced to take a seat on the bench.
Bryant had six points, all on free throws (six for six). He missed his only field-goal attempt.
The Lakers shot just 39.4% from the field in the first half, a big reason why they led by only six points at the break.
The Jazz shot just 33.3% from the field.
Lakers 24, Jazz 20 (end of first quarter)
It was clear from the start that Pau Gasol was just fine.
He had suffered a bone bruise on his right knee after falling hard during a game Sunday against the Denver Nuggets.
Gasol had 12 points on four-for-five shooting in the first quarter.
Gasol also had two rebounds and one blocked shot.
Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol would play Tuesday night against the Utah Jazz at Staples Center.
Bynum tweaked his right knee and Gasol suffered a bone bruise in his right knee during Sunday's loss to the Denver Nuggets.
"They are ready and willing," Jackson said. "They are able. I think at this time of the season, guys can always use the rest, but we tend to think that it's best for our team to keep playing."
-- Broderick Turner
Photo: Kobe Bryant looks at his hands after missing a last-second shot attempt during the Lakers' 86-85 loss Tuesday. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times