Jazz 90, Lakers 80

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP)—Without having to worry about Kobe Bryant, Andrei Kirilenko seemed to be guarding the rest of the Los Angeles Lakers all by himself.

Kirilenko finished with seven blocks and six steals to go with his 14 points, eight rebounds and nine assists Tuesday night in the Utah Jazz’s 90-80 victory over the Lakers.

The Jazz swept a home-and-home series with the slumping Lakers, who were without Bryant again as he completed a two-game suspension for throwing an elbow last week.

Kirilenko disrupted the Lakers all night, but especially in the fourth quarter, when he blocked four shots and the Jazz pulled away for their fifth straight win.

“I thought he was playing the wrong sport for a while,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson joked. “It looked like our guys were setting him up for sets. Some of the guys were just putting it up on there on a tee or something.”

Kirilenko accomplished the rare feat of getting at least five in every positive category for the third time in his career and moved the Jazz into a first-place tie with Minnesota in the Northwest Division.

“I like the game much more when it comes with a win. I feel twice better,” said Kirilenko, whose English slips a little when he gets excited.

The Jazz took advantage of Bryant’s absence and returned to .500 for the first time since they were 4-4.

Utah also has its first five-game winning streak since winning six straight in March 2003, when Karl Malone and John Stockton were making their final push to the playoffs.

“Andrei makes a huge, huge difference when he’s out there, but we can’t rely on him to take care of all of our mistakes,” Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. “I thought our other people did a good job.”

The Lakers will have Bryant again when they host Philadelphia on Friday. After falling to 15-16, Bryant’s return will be welcomed in Los Angeles.

“Without our best offensive player, we’ve got to play better defense,” said Lamar Odom, who led the Lakers with 25 points and eight rebounds.

Better offense would have helped, too. Odom was the only Laker to score in double figures and he had twice as many rebounds as any of his teammates.

Deron Williams added 19 points, including seven straight as Utah pulled away in the final 5 minutes, and Mehmet Okur finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds.

The Jazz also had 10 blocks and 10 steals while forcing 17 turnovers by the Lakers.

Los Angeles pulled within 69-68 on a jumper by Devean George, but the Jazz outplayed the Lakers the rest of the way. Devin Brown made two free throws with 7:35 remaining, Okur scored off a pass from Williams, and Kirilenko added two more free throws to put the Jazz up 77-70.

The Lakers got within 81-75, then Williams took over.

The rookie hit a 3-pointer, leaped into the front row under the Lakers basket to save a ball from going out of bounds, came back and made a 20-foot jumper, then drove for a layup over Luke Walton that kept the 19,013 fans on their feet and roaring.

“It’s a little bit of everything,” Williams said. “Our attitude, we’re executing, playing with a lot of energy. We just have to keep doing it.”

After Utah fell behind 54-46 on a 3-pointer by Smush Parker, Kirilenko led the Jazz on an 11-0 run to regain the lead in the third quarter.

Kirilenko made a 3-pointer to tie it at 54-all during an 11-0 run. Gordan Giricek added a layup off a pass from Kirilenko and Okur made a free throw after George was called for a technical.

Notes

Kirilenko was one off of his career highs for blocks, steals and assists. … The Lakers are on their longest losing streak since closing last season 0-6. … George got a technical with 4:24 remaining in the third quarter for complaining too much about a backhand to his face by Utah’s Keith McLeod and no foul was called.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 LA Lakers
L. Odom L. Odom
10-17,  25 Pts
8 Rebs, 4 Assists
 Utah
A. Kirilenko A. Kirilenko
5-7,  14 Pts
8 Rebs, 9 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists