Williams, Jazz end Lakers’ streak
SALT LAKE CITY (AP)—The Utah Jazz were loaded with incentives.
The combination gave the Jazz a decided advantage and they capitalized with a 102-94 win Saturday night, ending the Lakers’ 11-game winning streak.
The Jazz weren’t focused on stopping the longest streak in the league or even beating the team that knocked Utah out of the playoffs the last two seasons. It was the six points that Utah scored in the fourth quarter of a loss to the Lakers earlier in the week that was still rankling the Jazz.
Williams scored the first eight points of the fourth Saturday for a 17-point lead and the ailing Bryant wasn’t up to leading a comeback. He had a broken index finger from a game the night before and was fighting a stomach bug, which caused him to get fluids before the game and at halftime.
The Jazz held Bryant to 16 points on 7 of 24 shooting. Bryant didn’t score in the second half until less than five minutes remained in the game and Utah led by 15. He didn’t speak after the game.
“I think it was just energy-wise for him,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. “He’d figure out a way to go at it if he had the energy, but I just don’t think he had the energy.”
Carlos Boozer(notes) had 12 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for the Jazz and Wesley Matthews(notes) and Ronnie Brewer(notes) scored 19 apiece as Utah ended the Lakers’ streak. Mehmet Okur(notes) added 10 points as all five starters for Utah scored in double figures.
“I thought our guys played extremely hard,” Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. “We made a few mistakes, but everyone was involved and did a good job of trying to find the open man.”
Every member of Los Angeles’ starting five was also in double digits, but they couldn’t keep up with Utah’s starters.
Pau Gasol(notes) had 20 rebounds, tying the career high he set the night before in a win over Minnesota. He and Ron Artest(notes) had 16 points each, and Andrew Bynum(notes) added 13 for Los Angeles, which had 17 turnovers in its first loss since Nov. 15 at home to Houston.
“We didn’t take care of the ball as well as I’d like to see, but we had a good run. Now we’ve got to start another one,” Jackson said.
The Jazz led by six at halftime, then pulled away on several small runs in the second half.
“We didn’t do what we needed to do to match them and give us a chance to win,” Gasol said. “We didn’t bring the intensity tonight that we needed.”
Jordan Farmar(notes) took a steal in for a layup that got Los Angeles to within 80-71 at the end of the third quarter, but with Bryant resting on the bench to start the fourth the Lakers fell too far behind to make a comeback.
“It was fun to see us play the way we did,” Boozer said. “We did a great job on their big guys. We made them work for their shots. I thought we did a great job of making them kick it out and our guards did a great job of helping.”
Williams started the period with two layups, went 1 for 2 on a trip to the line and then muscled a layup through a strong foul by Bynum and converted the three-point play to put Utah up 88-71 with 9:04 left in the game.
“I didn’t really want to let them get on a run because that’s what they did last game,” Williams said. “So I wanted to be kind of aggressive.”
Bryant didn’t score in the second half until he hit a 19-foot jumper with 4:51 left, then he added a 3-pointer 29 seconds later to get the Lakers within 12. Bryant later converted a three-point play with 3:05 remaining that got the Lakers to 96-85.
The Jazz ran the shot clock almost all the way down on the next possession, passing the ball around until Miles just beat the buzzer with a 3-pointer to erase what little doubt remained.
“We came out and we played and we were able to put it together for 48 minutes,” Matthews said. “It feels great putting together everything we had worked on.”
NOTES: The Jazz dressed 12 players for the first time this season. … Artest scored the 10,000th point of his career and made his 2,000th assist. … The Lakers were 8 for 26 in the fourth quarter. … Utah was 40 for 77 from the field and made 15 of 18 free throws.