Kobe Bryant Finds Rhythm, Lakers Lose in OT

Kobe Bryant finished with 13 points, three assists, two rebounds and one steal in 21 minutes against the Utah Jazz

The Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Utah Jazz 117-114 in an overtime thriller that started on Tuesday night and spilled into early Wednesday morning Pacific Time.

Following a low-key 12-minute performance that featured only one made shot in the preseason opener, Kobe Bryant played 21 minutes and finished with 13 points on 5-9 shooting on Tuesday. Bryant also took over setting up the offense to a higher degree after rookie D'Angelo Russell left the game early with a bruised behind. No. 24 played facilitator and added three assists, two rebounds and a steal. Bryant wasn't perfect, but he looked noticeably better than two nights earlier.

Russell's fall seemed severe when the rookie needed help leaving the court. However, the Lakers stated that they would hold out the 19-year-old for the remainder of the game only as a precaution per TWC SportsNet.

The Lakers' second game featured a great deal more energy and more positive performances. Metta World Peace made his 2015-16 debut, and the forward immediately went head first over the bench chasing a ball. His energy and intensity proved to be infectious, as the Lakers came from 19 points down to take a lead before the half. World Peace triggered the run.

Roy Hibbert stood out with a 16-point, 11-rebound double-double performance, but more importantly, he stood up for Julius Randle when Trevor Booker pushed the Lakers' young forward. Booker raised his hand to Hibbert's head, and Booker would be promptly ejected from the game.

Notably, Randle also had a good game and played with active energy on both ends. In his second start, Randle scored 16 points and pushed the ball off the boards. Running as a point forward, Randle also grabbed five rebounds and four assists.

Lou Williams and Nick Young both scored in double-digits with "Sweet Lou" finishing with team-high honors, 20 points, for the second game in a row. Young got hot from distance for a bit, but both Young and Williams missed shots that would have given the Lakers the lead or tied the game late in overtime. Neither player hit the mark, and the Lakers lost for the second time in as many preseason games.

The Lakers may have lost on Tuesday night, but spirits seemed high in the locker room, as the team looked greatly improved from only a couple nights earlier. Next, the Lakers play the Toronto Raptors in Ontario, California on Thursday at 7 p.m. Pacific Time.

Notes: Brandon Bass also played well off the bench and finished 4-4 for 12 points, three rebounds, two steals and a block shot.

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