Lakers Fall Behind Early, Crush Jazz Late

The Lakers are 17-1 since the All-Star break.

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4 Total Updates since April 1, 2011
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Lakers Outlast Jazz In Utah, 96-85, For Ninth Straight Win

The Lakers hadn't played on back-to-back nights for over a month, so forgive them if they were a little rusty at first Friday night. The Utah Jazz pulled out to a 16-point lead late in the second quarter, but the Lakers turned up the defense and turned out the lights at Energy Solutions Arena, pulling away to beat the Jazz 96-85. It was the ninth win in a row for the Lakers, who are 17-1 since the All-Star break.

The Lakers had five players in double figures, led by Kobe Bryant with 21 points. Pau Gasol added 16 points and nine rebounds for the Lakers, who outscored the Jazz 54-37 in the second half. Lamar Odom had 16 points and seven boards off the bench for the Lakers, and it came under rough conditions, per Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register:

LO was throwing up before game ...and now is headed to team plane with full 12-pack of Gatorade bottles. Seriously, 12.

As for the Lakers turning things around in the second half, our own Dexter Fishmore has the numbers:

2nd half points per possession: Lakers - 1.29, Jazz - 0.88. For the game: Lakers - 1.12, Jazz - 0.98.

The Lakers are now 55-20, tied with the Chicago Bulls for the second best record in the NBA. The San Antonio Spurs, however, lost their sixth game in a row tonight, and now stand at 57-19, just a game ahead in the loss column. The Lakers host the Spurs on April 12 at Staples Center. Suddenly that number seed and home court advantage throughout the playoffs doesn't look so implausible.

For more news and information on the Lakers and tonight's game, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.

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Lakers Vs. Jazz: Kobe Bryant Wins Western Conference Player Of The Month For March

To the victors go the spoils, and nobody has been more victorious since the NBA All-Star break than the Los Angeles Lakers. They are 16-1 since the break, and received some honors today. Kobe Bryant was named the Western Conference Player of the Month by the NBA, the Lakers announced today. Earlier today, coach Phil Jackson won the Western Confernce Coach of the Month award, guiding the Lakers to a 12-1 record in March.

Bryant averaged 25.8 points per game in March, his second-highest average for any month this season. In addition, Kobe picked up 4.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists per contest for the month. Bryant scored 30 points in a game three times in March, all in a three-game stretch last week, including 42 points in the Lakers' triple-overtime win against Phoenix on March 22. Mike Trudell of NBA.com reported that this was the 13th player of the month honor in Bryant's career.

For more news and information on the Lakers and tonight's game, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.

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Lakers Vs. Jazz: Matt Barnes Suspended, Phil Jackson Wins Coach Of The Month

The Los Angeles Lakers will try for their ninth straight win tonight, in Utah against the Jazz, but the Lakers will be without Matt Barnes. Barnes was suspended for his altercation with Jason Terry of the Mavericks last night after Terry shoved Steve Blake to the ground in the fourth quarter. Barnes, however, doesn't sound worried about his one-game penalty, tweeting:

I get an extra day of rest for my knee. Ill be watching the game 2nite w/the rest of the laker fans, on tv. All good team will keep it Rolln 2nite vs the Jazz.. Ill be bak sunday.. Appreciate the support from all the lakeshow fans.. RESPECT!!

In other news, Phil Jackson won the Western Conference Coach of the Month award after guiding the Lakers to a 12-1 record in March. The Lakers are 16-1 since the NBA All-Star break. Here are tonight's probable starting lineups:

Jazz (36-39)

Lakers (54-20)

For more news and information on the Lakers and tonight's game, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.

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After Fight Night Last Night, Lakers Head To Utah To Face Punchless Jazz

Last night got a little crazy at Staples Center. In the fourth quarter of the Lakers' destruction of the Dallas Mavericks, two separate hard fouls led to five ejections, including three Lakers for retaliation: Matt Banres, Steve Blake, and Shannon Brown. Tonight, however, the Lakers travel to Utah to face the Jazz, who have lost their fight this season. The Jazz have lost six in a row.

Utah was once 27-13, and a contender for a top three seed in the Western Conference, but a rift between coach Jerry Sloan and point guard Deron Williams tore the team apart. Now, after Sloan's abrupt retirement and the trade of Williams, the Jazz are a shell of their former selves, having lost 26 of their last 35 games. However, the Lakers always have a tough time in Utah, and are 4-6 in their last 10 games at Energy Solutions Arena. Factor in that tonight is the second night of back-to-back nights for the Lakers, and well, anything can happen.

Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 28 points last night against Dallas, and he has led the Lakers in scoring in 14 of their last 17 games against the Jazz. The Lakers lost earlier this season in Utah, 102-96 on November 26, but that was without center Andrew Bynum. Bynum, who tallied 18 points, 13 rebounds, and two blocks last night, is averaging 12.2 points, 12.4 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per contest since the All-Star break. The Lakers play the Jazz twice in the next five days.

For more news and information on the Lakers and tonight's game, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.

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