SALT LAKE CITY — The Lakers fell with a thud in the closing moments tonight, losing to the far more energetic Utah Jazz, 113-109. Kobe Bryant scored 37 points, Lamar Odom had 19 points and 19 rebounds, his third consecutive game with a season high for rebounds. Pau Gasol had 16 points and Derek Fisher scored 13. Deron Williams had 31 for Utah.
The Lakers lost for the first time in eight games and for only the 10th time in 52 games this season. They remained percentage points ahead of the Boston Celtics (43-11) for the best overall record in the NBA at the All-Star break.
They were not happy after the game, however.
Coach Phil Jackson: “We played a lethargic first half. The bench came in and played good and kept us going in the ballgame. I think our starters tried to rally at the end of the half and did a good job doing it. I didn’t like the way we started in the second half and had a lot of missed opportunities and they took advantage.”
Odom: “They just beat us. We could do a better job of playing without the referees and not worrying about calls. If we do have a problem with an official, let Kobe talk to them. We usually are a little tougher at the end of games mentally. Tonight, I think we coudl have done a better job. … It’s tough on the road.”
Bryant: “(The Jazz) play extremely well here at home. They always play us tough here. … We just didn’t play well defensively. We didn’t play hard enough defensively. We played lazy.”