Lethargic Lakers Can't Play Jazz Tune

With some time to rest approaching, Deron Williams was determined to leave all his energy on the court. Nobody on the Los Angeles Lakers really felt the same way.

The result was that Williams had 31 points and 11 assists and the Utah Jazz snapped the Los Angeles Lakers' seven-game winning streak with a 113-109 victory Wednesday night.

The Jazz star point guard didn't make the All-Star team, so he'll get a few days to rest as the league takes a break to party in Phoenix this weekend.

In his final performance before the break, Williams helped the Jazz overcome a 37-point effort by Kobe Bryant.

"It was a playoff type of game, very physical. Especially in the last four minutes or so nothing was going to be easy," Mehmet Okur said.

Lamar Odom had 19 points and 19 rebounds, but the Lakers allowed the Jazz to shoot a season-high 58.6 percent.

"We just didn't play well defensively. We didn't play hard enough on defense. We played lazy. They got a lot of points in the paint and some of that may be tired legs," Bryant said.

Odom and Bryant combined for 10 points and Bryant's 3-pointer gave the Lakers their first lead of the fourth quarter, 105-104, at the 1:36 mark.

Sandwiched around Bryant's steal and layup, Paul Millsap made a three-point play for Utah and Okur hit a three-pointer to put Utah up, 110-107.

Williams made 3-of-6 free throws in the last 25 seconds while Derek Fisher missed two 3-point attempts and Bryant misfired once to clinch the Jazz win.

The Lakers closed the gap to 91-90, but Brewer sparked the Jazz with a series of scintillating plays. His reverse dunk started a 10-2 run that featured a steal, a block and another dunk over Bryant to give Utah a 101-92 lead with 5:59 to play. But Brewer missed four consecutive foul shots to open the door for L.A.

Williams has averaged 31 points in his last five games and is showing that he is finally healthy after missing 13 of Utah's first 15 games with a sprained ankle and later suffering from swelling in the knee.

"Deron is better than I thought he was, which is saying a lot. He's one of the best in the world. I got to see every day how great he really is," Bryant said of their time together last summer on the U.S. Olympic team.

After Williams drove the lane for a basket in the third quarter, Bryant switched to guard the Utah point guard. But Williams promptly drove past him for a layup and a foul. On the next possession, Williams got Bryant going backward and then hit a pull-up jumper. Utah led 80-73 with 2:55 left in the period.

The Jazz often double-teamed Bryant and eliminated any easy drives to the basket. Gambling to leave his teammates open on the perimeter paid off for Utah as Los Angeles went 5-of-19 from beyond the arc.

Neither team led by more than nine points and the Lakers, though they boast best road record (18-6) in the NBA, seemed tired at times in playing seventh away from home in eight games.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us