Lakers defeat Jazz in overtime, 90-87
The Lakers finally got a road win, and Kobe Bryant finally got some help to make it happen.
Pau Gasol made a clutch three-pointer -- his first three-pointer of the season -- and Andrew Bynum blocked an Al Jefferson shot in the final seconds of overtime to help the Lakers emerge with a 90-87 victory over the Jazz.
Utah had taken an 85-81 lead on Josh Howard's three-pointer before Gasol made a pair of free throws and followed with his rare three-pointer. Bynum later made a tip-in to increase the Lakers' lead to 88-85, and after a Paul Millsap jumper, Bynum stepped in to block Jefferson's shot in the final seconds.
The ball went to Bryant, who was fouled and made two free throws with seven-tenths of a second left to finish with 40 points on 14-for-31 shooting. As if that wasn't enough, Bryant blocked Devin Harris' desperation three-point shot off an inbounds pass at the buzzer.
Utah had been 5-0 at EnergySolutions Arena before Wednesday and had won five consecutive games overall.
There was no question who was going to take the final shot.
And after it left Kobe Bryant's hands, there was no question whether it was going to go in.
Bryant badly missed a long jumper at the end of regulation, sending the Lakers' game against the Utah Jazz into overtime. Bryant scored only four points in the fourth quarter after collecting 31 in the first three quarters.
Utah rallied from a five-point deficit in the final two minutes thanks to a three-pointer by Josh Howard and a pair of free throws from Howard.
Bryant gave the Lakers a 78-76 lead with a baseline jumper with 39 seconds left before Paul Millsap tied the score with a tip-in with 21 seocnds remaining.
Lakers guard Steve Blake suffered a bruised rib late in the third quarter and did not return.
Lakers 66, Jazz 61 (end of third quarter)
Even if he doesn't match his 48-point outburst from Tuesday night, Kobe Bryant might be putting on a more impressive display 24 hours later against the Jazz.
He has 31 points by the end of the third quarter, helping his team close to within 12 minutes of what might be its first road victory of the season. Bryant scored 11 points in the third quarter and has made 11 of 19 shots overall.
Lakers forward Pau Gasol lost his cool late in the quarter after thinking he was fouled on one play and then trying to dunk on Utah's basket during a break in the game on the other end of the court. Gasol was called for a technical foul.
But the Lakers found themselves with a five-point lead going into the final quarter after rookie Darius Morris drove toward the basket and hoisted a shot that drew a goaltending call on the Jazz.
Jazz 42, Lakers 41 (halftime)
Kobe Bryant's energy apparently is endless.
He has endured the second part of a back-to-back situation just fine so far, helping the Lakers stay within a point of the Utah Jazz with a 20-point outburst in the first half.
Bryant has made eight of 13 shots, including one that turned into a three-point play after he made a jumper and was fouled late in the second quarter.
Pau Gasol has six points for the Lakers, who aren't getting much production elsewhere.
Paul Millsap has 14 points for the Jazz, who look much improved since their 25-point drubbing by the Lakers on Dec. 27 at Staples Center.
Lakers reserve point guard Steve Blake appeared to hurt a finger early in the second quarter on a turnover that resulted in a dunk for Utah's C.J. Miles, but Blake did not immediately leave the game.
Lakers 26, Jazz 23 (end of first quarter)
Kobe Bryant is trying to do it all again.
One night after scoring a season-high 48 points, the Lakers shooting guard has come out firing, scoring 14 first-quarter points on five-for-eight shooting. None of his teammates has more than four points.
The Lakers are still missing forwards Josh McRoberts (sore toe), Troy Murphy (upset stomach) and Jason Kapono (birth of twin daughters). Rookie guard Darius Morris made his NBA debut late in the quarter and logged his first assist with a pass to Metta World Peace that resulted in a dunk.
Utah's Raja Bell earned a technical foul midway through the quarter for snapping at Bryant. Bryant made the ensuing free throw.
Paul Millsap has eight points for the Jazz, who have won five consecutive games and are unbeaten this season on their home court. The Lakers are 0-3 on the road.
-- Ben Bolch in Salt Lake City
Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, right, looks to shoot over Utah guard Raja Bell during the first half of Wednesday's game. Credit: George Frey / EPA