Home / Sports / Basketball Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read | Comment
Bryant bags 40 points as Lakers' hold off the Jazz
Adjust font size:

Kobe Bryant picked up right where he left off the last time he faced the Utah Jazz, scoring a game-high 40 points to pace the surging Los Angeles Lakers in their 113-100 home victory on Friday.

It was the first meeting between the teams since the Lakers defeated the Jazz 4-2 in last season's best-of-seven Western Conference semifinals that saw Bryant dominate with 33.2 points per contest, seven rebounds and 7.2 assists.

This time, Pau Gasol aided the league's reigning MVP with 21 points, surpassing the 10,000 career point-mark in the process.

The Spanish power forward added 11 rebounds and six assists to help Los Angeles hold off the relentless Jazz and win their fifth straight game.

"This was a nice way for us to start off the new year," Trevor Ariza told reporters, after recording 12 points, nine rebounds and five steals off the bench.

"We had to tighten up the defense. We did and (pushed the) lead back. They are a tough team, and they made a run."

Mehmet Okur had a team-high 21 points, and Ronnie Brewer scored 20 for Utah, who trailed just 97-93 with 2:58 remaining.

Los Angeles responded with a 7-0 run sparked by five points from Ariza.

"There were two plays in a row where Trevor changed the game," said Lakers coach Phil Jackson. "That's a great asset to have. We anticipated (Utah) coming back and playing."

Los Angeles scored 37 points in the first quarter and took a 55-35 advantage in the second, but the Jazz chipped away.

Utah pounded the ball inside where big men Okur and Paul Millsap combined for 30 rebounds, as the Jazz trailed just 67-64 with 4:46 left in the third.

Bryant kept his team in control with 12 points in the period, and finished 13-for-23 from the field.

The Lakers (26-5), boosted by their 92-83 Christmas Day win over the Boston Celtics, were coming off a dominating 130-113 victory against the Golden State Warriors on Sunday and improved to 17-1 at home.

Utah (19-15) is still without power forward Carlos Boozer, who has not played since November 19 due to a knee injury.

Point guard Deron Williams is fully recovered after missing 13 games with ankle and calf injuries but struggled to a 4-for-18 shooting night in the defeat.

In Toronto, the home side bounced back from three straight losses to shut down Houston 94-73.

Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani each scored 19 points for the Raptors, who had also lost four straight at home. It was the Rockets' lowest points total of the season.

In East Rutherford, New Jersey, Vince Carter hit a long 3-pointer at the buzzer in overtime to complete New Jersey's 93-91 comeback against Atlanta.

The Nets had trailed by 20 points at halftime but recovered to end Atlanta's winning streak at six games.

In Cleveland, Anderson Varejao scored a career-high 26 points for Cleveland in its 117-92 win over Chicago.

LeBron James had 16 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds for his first triple-double of the season and the 18th of his career.

Cleveland is 17-0 at home this season.

In Portland, Oregon, New Orleans won its fourth straight by sinking Portland 92-77.

David West had 25 points to top the Hornets' scoring.

In other NBA action on Friday, it was: Celtics 108, Wizards 83; Mavericks 96, 76ers 86; Spurs 91, Grizzlies 80; Pistons 98, Kings 92; Suns 106, Clippers 98; Bucks 103, Bobcats 75; Nuggets 122, Thunder 120; Pacers 105, Knicks 103; and Timberwolves 115, Warriors 108.

(Agencies via Shanghai Daily January 4, 2009)

Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read

Pet Name
China Archives
Related >>
- Lakers end Celtics' 19-game winning streak
- Shaq attack keeps Thunder rock bottom
- Cavaliers cool off Heat 93-86
- Rockets beat Jazz in double overtime
Special Reports
Top sporting moments of 2008 Top sporting moments of 2008

More >>

Upcoming Events

January 2009

- Skating: ISU World Sprint Speed Skating Championships
- Skating: ISU World Junior Short Track Speed Skating Championships
- Weightlifting: Junior World Championships 2009
- Multi-sports: 5th East Asian Games
- Multi-sports: 2009 Winter Asian Games
- Skiing: FIS Snowboard World Championships
- Gymnastics: 26th Trampoline Gymnastics World Championships