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Steve Blake has a big impact in Lakers' win over Jazz

Blake is a playmaker, scorer, rebounder and tough guy in victory over Utah.

January 26, 2011|By Broderick Turner

He had only five points and four assists.

He played only 23 minutes, 18 seconds.

But the impact Steve Blake made for the Lakers against the Utah Jazz Tuesday night at Staples Center could not just be measured in statistics alone.

In the Lakers' 120-91 victory, he ran the offense. He set up teammates. He took the open shots. And he showed toughness when it was called upon.

"Steve made some wonderful plays out there offensively, giving guys the ball in position where they could really work with it," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said. "[He made] passes leading to layups.

"His offense is just a bonus because he's not looking for his shot. He's still an adequate, or much more than an adequate, shooter for us. He had a nice game from that standpoint."

Blake was two for four from the field, one for two from three-point range.

He also had three rebounds and three steals.

When the Lakers made their run in the second quarter, Blake played a big role in that.

His three-pointer gave the Lakers a 49-30 lead in the second.

His 21-foot jumper pushed the Lakers' lead to 51-30.

Blake even out-jumped the 6-9 Andrei Kirilenko on a jump-ball situation.

"He's doing what he's supposed to do and that's play like Steve Blake," Kobe Bryant said. "I think in the first half of the season, he was trying to figure things out. We need him to play-make because he's a great playmaker and he's a great passer. So it's important for him to do that, to run more screen-and-rolls for him to put him in situations where he has to create for others because he's really good at that."

In his last five games, Blake has gone eight-for-15 from the field.

That's a sign that he's starting to get his stroke back.

That's also a sign that he's feeling more comfortable taking the shot.

"It would be an injustice to just put him in a corner so he can just spot-up," Bryant said. "He's got to be able to handle the ball and be able to make plays because he's great at it."

One thing Blake hasn't done this season is back down to an opponent.

With 6:04 left in the third quarter, Blake and Earl Watson squared off, going face-to-face, glaring at each other.

No words were exchanged, just a stare-down between the two until they were separated by teammates and the officials.

This all happened after Watson was called for an offensive foul against Blake.

"I'm telling you. I played against him," Bryant said. "He doesn't back down for one second."

broderick.turner@latimes.com

twitter.com/BA_Turner

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