SALT LAKE CITY (AP)—The Los Angeles Lakers quickly discouraged any Utah fans who hoped to see the Jazz set a team record for consecutive home wins.
Jazz fans had barely started booing Kobe Bryant before he and the Lakers made nine of their first 10 shots and were up by 20 before the end of the first quarter. Los Angeles held off every Utah rally from there and won 106-95 on Thursday night, ending the Jazz’s 19-game home winning streak.
“The important thing for us is to get off to a good start. We were able to do that and keep the crowd out of it for the most part,” said Bryant, who scored 27 as the Lakers finished a four-game road trip 2-2 and pulled slightly ahead of New Orleans for the best record in the Western Conference.
Lamar Odom had 21 points and 12 rebounds, Derek Fisher added 11 points and Vladimir Radmanovic scored 13 for the Lakers, who are the first team to win in Utah in 2008. Utah’s home winning streak ended with a pretty big thud as the Jazz were never able to get closer than 10 until the final few minutes.
“They went out and buried us right away,” Utah coach Jerry Sloan said.
The Jazz got within eight points down the stretch, but the Lakers didn’t let them any closer. One Utah fan marred the already ugly loss by throwing a beer on the court after a dunk by Odom with 21 seconds left.
Utah hadn’t lost at home since Boston won here 104-98 on Dec. 29. The winning streak tied the longest in franchise history and the Jazz could have set a new mark against the team Jazz fans dislike the most. Bryant shouldered the usual boos and by the end the remaining fans were mostly wearing gold and purple and chanting “M-V-P!” Bryant also had eight rebounds and seven assists.
“I think we knew how tough they are at home and what kind of energy they would come out with,” Bryant said.
Los Angeles is still without Pau Gasol (ankle) and Andrew Bynum (knee), but didn’t need much more than the starting lineup. Jordan Farmar and Sasha Vujacic scored 11 each for the Lakers, who outscored the Jazz reserves 25-9.
Los Angeles had Utah scrambling from the beginning, going 15-for-20 in the first quarter and shutting down every mini-run the Jazz made until it was too late. Every time Utah made a small dent in the lead, the Lakers answered with a 3-pointer. Los Angeles finished 10-for-22 from beyond-the-arc.
The Jazz made a few mini-runs to cut into the lead, but the Lakers never let Utah put together one big push.
“We got them in a situation where things weren’t working well for them on the offensive end,” Los Angeles coach Phil Jackson said. “They were a little bit out of sync.”
The Jazz never got closer than 11 until Boozer’s turnaround jumper cut the lead to 94-84 with 4:32 remaining. Bryant followed that with a 22-foot jumper, but fouled Williams on a 3-pointer at the other end. Williams made the free throw to cut the lead to 96-88, but Bryant quickly stopped the momentum with a dunk.
“We were rolling at that point. We came back, made a little bit of a run, and then Kobe started hitting some tough shots,” Boozer said.
Fisher spent last season with the Jazz before asking out of his contract for family reasons. He was booed loudly when the Lakers played here in November, but got a warmer welcome Thursday night.
Bryant said the Lakers hadn’t forgotten the way Fisher was received last time.
“Derek’s the type of guy that’s not going to say anything, but I’ll say it for him. He took it personally tonight and we wanted to send a message,” Bryant said.
Odom had 10 points, five rebounds and four assists at the end of the first quarter. … The Lakers led 38-18 after one an quickly took a 24-point lead in the second. … All five Jazz starters scored in double figures. … Paul Millsap led the Jazz reserves with five points.