Kobe’s Huge 3rd Qtr Not Enough For Lakers To Top Jazz
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LOS ANGELES (AP) – Rookie Gordon Hayward scored 26 points and the Utah Jazz shrugged off a 19-point third quarter by Kobe Bryant to beat the Los Angeles Lakers 99-94 on Sunday night and run their preseason record to 6-0.
Bryant, coming off arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, played only 20 minutes and sat out the fourth. Pau Gasol led the Lakers with 28 points, 13 of them in the final 6:33 while the sellout crowd kept chanting Bryant’s name in vain.
The two-time defending NBA champs missed 13 of their first 16 shots and fell behind by 14 points midway through the second quarter. Bryant came up empty on his first four shots before making an understated dunk with 9:57 left in third.
He came back moments later with a 15-foot fadeaway jumper, hit a 20-footer that was nullified by a traveling call, and drained a 3-pointer 28 seconds later to put the Lakers ahead 58-56 with 7:15 left in the quarter.
Bryant’s surge helped fuel a 19-2 run that turned a six-point deficit into a 69-58 lead, the Lakers’ biggest of the game. They took a 74-73 lead into the fourth with Bryant on the bench, and the lead changed hands four times before Hayward put Utah ahead 79-78 with a 19-footer that ignited a 11-0 spurt.
The Lakers had only three field goals in the final quarter, and none until their ninth attempt, when Gasol’s dunk pulled the Los Angeles to 88-84 with 4:25 to play.
Utah reserve C Kyrylo Fesenko, who sat out Saturday’s contest because of a sprained right wrist, entered the game at the start of the second quarter and picked up three fouls in a 2:32 span before he was back on the bench. The fourth-year veteran fouled out with 1:21 remaining, and has 24 fouls in 96 minutes during his five preseason games. Last season, he averaged a foul for every 5.2 minutes. … Lakers G Sasha Vujacic was sidelined for the second straight game because of a concussion, which occurred at Thursday’s practice when he got elbowed just below his left eye by Lamar Odom. F Luke Walton has yet to play in the preseason because of a right hamstring strain. … The Nuggets, who won three of four meetings with Los Angeles in 2009-10, begin their season series on Nov. 11 at Denver. The Lakers don’t host the Nuggets again until April 3.