Lakers roll to 10th straight win with big 4th
After all, holding an opponent to six points and two field goals in the final period of a formerly close game requires more than a little help from the flustered foes themselves.
Kobe Bryant(notes) scored 27 points, Gasol had 19 points and 12 rebounds, and the Lakers rolled off 19 consecutive points in the fourth quarter of their 13th straight win over the Jazz in Los Angeles, 101-77 Wednesday night.
Ron Artest(notes) scored 17 points for the Lakers, who improved to an NBA-best 17-3 by holding the Jazz to 2-for-18 shooting in a comically one-sided fourth quarter. After leading by just two points entering the final period, Los Angeles held the Jazz scoreless for more than six minutes while getting points from five players.
“I guess there’s a little bit of credit to ourselves, but they were really out of whack,” Gasol said. “They didn’t get the shots they got in the first three quarters. We got the momentum and just started putting plays together.”
Deron Williams(notes) scored 17 points for the Jazz, who couldn’t manage a field goal in the first 7:25 of the final period at Staples Center, where they haven’t beaten the Lakers since Jan. 1, 2006, counting six losses in the past two playoffs.
Williams’ jumper with 4:35 to play was the Jazz’s first field goal of the period, and they didn’t get another until C.J. Miles’(notes) basket in the final minute. Utah committed nine turnovers in the fourth quarter, while the Lakers made none.
Just how bad was it? On the 21st anniversary of Jerry Sloan’s first day as Utah’s head coach, he was more clinical than angry after the game—a sure sign of his greatest degree of disappointment.
“They came out and just destroyed us,” Sloan said. “We were hanging in the ballgame, but that just shows you what a great team they have. … We have to learn to stay within what we are trying to do. You can’t go out and play street basketball against this team. They will annihilate you.”
Los Angeles’ winning streak is its longest in a single season since winning 10 straight in February 2008.
Bryant played after skipping the morning shootaround, telling the Lakers he was shaken up after a home-invasion robbery occurred in his family’s gated community in Orange County last night, leading to a police standoff. Bryant then declined to speak to reporters after the game.
Andrew Bynum(notes) scored 14 points for Los Angeles, which forced two shot clock violations by the Jazz during that fourth quarter stretch while getting eight points from Jordan Farmar(notes), the inconsistent backup guard.
“That was an amazing quarter,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. “We were able to apply some pressure, and they gave Deron a rest. They subsequently got tougher shots, 24-second violations, turnovers, and things happened for us. I think once that happened, it became like an avalanche.”
The Lakers are one game away from completing an undefeated six-game homestand, which concludes Friday with a visit from Minnesota. Los Angeles’ lofty record is little surprise after an exceptionally generous schedule featuring 17 of its first 21 games at home, but the Lakers are on the road for all but nine of the following next 28 games.
Most of the Lakers’ victories have been easy, with the notable exception of last Friday’s one-point win over Miami on Bryant’s self-acknowledged lucky 3-pointer at the buzzer. Jackson felt a few close games would help his team’s late-game execution later on, and they got another test of their tenacity against Utah—until the fourth quarter, that is.
“It’s frustrating. We were in a lot of ballgames (against the Lakers), and we were in the ballgame again here,” Williams said. “But they just have one big run where they go unconscious, and they did that again tonight. … When Kobe starts hitting shots and other guys start warming up, it’s tough to stop them. They’ve got a lot of weapons. It’s the only way to look at it. I mean, they’ve got five guys on their team that can score 40 points.”
Carlos Boozer(notes) had 11 points and 12 rebounds for the Jazz, failing to score at least 21 points for the first time in nine games. Utah rebounded from a loss to lowly Minnesota with a win over San Antonio on Monday, but its fourth-quarter woes in Los Angeles led to just the Jazz’s third loss in 11 games.
NOTES: The teams meet again on Saturday in Salt Lake City. … Longtime Lakers player and assistant coach Kurt Rambis will face the Lakers on Friday night for the first time since taking over the Timberwolves. … Denzel Washington, Jack Black, Emmanuelle Chriqui and poker players Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth were at courtside.