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Utah 113, Lakers 109

Jazz won't give Lakers a break

Winning streak ends at seven, as L.A. gets worn down in the fourth

February 12, 2009|Broderick Turner

SALT LAKE CITY — Before Wednesday night's game, Lakers Coach Phil Jackson talked about the fatigue his team might be feeling.

After the game, after the Lakers dropped a 113-109 decision to the Utah Jazz at Energy Solutions Arena, Jackson refused to say attrition was the reason the Lakers' seven-game winning streak ended.

The Lakers played their eighth game in 13 days, seven on the road, and 11 of the days have been away from home.

With that in mind, Jackson was asked if the Lakers lost because of a harrowing schedule.

"No, not this one," Jackson said. "We had ample opportunity to come and play this road game. It was going to be tough. We knew that. We just didn't measure up tonight."

Still, the Lakers headed into this weekend's All-Star break with the best record in the NBA at 42-10.

They remain a confident team, especially after going 6-0 on a trip that included wins over Boston and Cleveland.

Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 37 points, but he made only 14 of 33 shots from the field, one for seven from three-point range.

Bryant was six for 20 in the second half, two for nine in the fourth quarter.

Lamar Odom had a double-double with 19 points and a season-high 19 rebounds, his third consecutive game doing that.

The Lakers made only 28.6% of their shots in the fourth quarter, while the Jazz made 58.6% overall.

"I'm going to think about this all night," Odom said. "It's a game we feel like we should have won."

But the bitter taste can't be removed quickly because the Lakers don't play right away. Their next game is Tuesday at Staples Center against the Atlanta Hawks.

"In the NBA, there's always a saying, 'You've got another one tomorrow,' " Trevor Ariza said. "Well, we don't got another one tomorrow. The next one is Tuesday."

The Jazz, which played without Carlos Boozer (left knee surgery), Andrei Kirilenko (right ankle surgery) and Brevin Knight (left quad contusion), went ahead by as much as nine points in fourth quarter.

But Utah, despite getting 31 points from Deron Williams -- it was his fifth straight game scoring 30 points or more -- kept leaving the door open for the Lakers because of its poor free-throw shooting late in the game.

The Jazz missed nine of 15 free throws in the last eight minutes.

"It looked like the free throws we missed were going to cause us some problems," Jazz Coach Jerry Sloan said. "But fortunately we made some other plays to win the game."

The big play for the Jazz came after Bryant tied the score at 107-107, when Mehmet Okur (22 points) got free for a three-pointer that gave the Jazz a 110-107 lead.

Bryant missed a three-pointer, but Williams made only one of two free throws and Derek Fisher made two free throws to pull the Lakers within 111-109.

Williams made one of two free throws for a 112-109 Jazz lead.

The Lakers still had an opportunity.

But Bryant couldn't get open for a shot and passed to Fisher, whose three pointer was straight but off the back of the rim.

Odom ran down the rebound and passed it back out.

Fisher got the ball before Bryant could and this three-point try was an airball.

Williams made one of two free throws to seal the game for the Jazz.

"We're usually a little tougher at the end of games mentally, as far as playing without the refs," Odom said. "Tonight, I just think we could have done a better job at that."

--

broderick.turner@latimes.com

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