Jazz guard Jeremy Evans strips the ball from Lakers guard Ramon Sessions… (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles…)
The Lakers finally have a bad home loss.
It took an uncharacteristically bad shooting night from Kobe Bryant, who made only three of 20 shots, and an unsightly 24 turnovers, but the Lakers were left with a 103-99 defeat against the Utah Jazz on Sunday evening at Staples Center.
Bryant had a chance to make up for all his misses in the final seconds when he hoisted a three-pointer that could have tied the score, but the ball bounced off the rim and was grabbed by Utah's Paul Millsap with 0.5 seconds left.
Millsap made one of two free throws to clinch a victory that handed the Lakers only their third home defeat of the season. The Lakers are 19-3 at Staples Center, where they had won 11 consecutive games before falling to the Jazz.
Bryant finished with 15 points, mostly on the strength of making eight of nine free throws. He made only one of six three-pointers.
Andrew Bynum had 33 points on 12-for-14 shooting to go with 11 rebounds for the Lakers. Pau Gasol had 18 points and 10 rebounds.
Millsap had 24 points and Enes Kanter and Alec Burks had 17 each off the bench for the Jazz, who were missing starters Al Jefferson and Raja Bell.
The Lakers' Metta World Peace played only 18 minutes and did not appear in the fourth quarter, experiecing bursitis in his left hip.
Jazz 75, Lakers 69 (end of third quarter)
Kobe Bryant might want to put on an opaque mask if this keeps up.
The Lakers guard's shooting struggles deepened in the third quarter, when he made one of five shots and had one attempt go off the side of the backboard. Bryant has eight points overall on two-for-13 shooting.
Lakers center Andrew Bynum is almost single-handedly keeping his team in the game, scoring 23 points on nine-for-10 shooting. Pau Gasol has 16 points and nine rebounds for the Lakers, who have 24 turnovers.
Paul Millsap leads the short-handed Jazz with 20 points.
The Lakers' bid for their 20th home victory is in jeopardy. Their only home losses this season have come to Eastern Conference powers Chicago and Indiana, making the prospects of losing to the .500 Jazz all the more dispiriting.
Jazz 45, Lakers 44 (halftime)
It wasn't a first half that will show up on the season highlight reel for the Lakers.
Kobe Bryant made only one of eight shots and the Lakers committed 17 turnovers in 24 minutes.
On the plus side, they trailed by only a point after squandering a 10-point lead in the second quarter.
Lakers point guard Ramon Sessions was particularly active during a run by his new team early in the quarter, feeding Matt Barnes for a layup and Andrew Bynum for an alley-oop dunk. Sessions then came up with a steal that resulted in another Bynum dunk off a pass from Barnes.
The Lakers eventually built a 43-33 lead on a Bynum dunk before the Jazz closed the quarter by scoring 12 of the final 13 points.
Bryant missed his first six shots, finally connecting on a three-pointer with 4:44 left before halftime. He also made a pair of free throws and has five points.
Bynum has 16 points and Gasol has 10 for the Lakers.
Paul Millsap leads the short-handed Jazz with 10 points.
Jazz 23, Lakers 20 (end of first quarter)
It's still early, but this would qualify as a bad loss for the Lakers.
Utah arrived at Staples Center on Sunday missing leading scorer Al Jefferson, who returned to Mississippi for his grandmother's funeral, and starting guard Raja Bell, who had a strained groin.
The Lakers were supposed to be reinvigorated after acquiring point guard Ramon Sessions but came out sloppy in the early going, with Kobe Bryant going scoreless and missing all five shots in the first quarter. The Lakers also had a whopping 10 turnovers, leading to 12 points for the Jazz.
Pau Gasol had seven points for the Lakers, sinking a rare three-pointer, and Andrew Bynum had six points.
But the Jazz came out making a healthy percentage of their shots, taking a 23-20 lead on the strength of 50% shooting. Paul Millsap had six points to lead the way for Utah.
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