Kobe, Lakers Eliminate Jazz From Playoff Hunt

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Kobe Bryant scored 21 points, Lamar Odom added 16 and the Los Angeles Lakers erased a 17-point first-half deficit Friday night to beat Utah 96-85 and eliminate the Jazz from the playoff race.

Utah (36-40) becomes the first team in NBA history to start 15-5 and 27-13 and not make the playoffs.

The Lakers outscored the Jazz 52-35 in the second half to win their ninth straight game, and pull within 1 1/2 games of first-place San Antonio in the Western Conference.

C.J. Miles scored 24 points for Utah, which started its 17th different lineup and had only nine healthy players, including one who just joined the team two days earlier and was playing out of
position.

The game in all likelihood was the last in Salt Lake City for Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who has said this will be his final season.

As Lakers coach, Jackson was just 10-12 in games played in Utah.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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