Jazz fall flat against L.A.
Los Angeles » Even in their 30th anniversary green throwback uniforms, the look was all too familiar Wednesday night for the Jazz on the road against the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers.
The Jazz owned an eight-point lead midway through the third quarter and trailed by just four entering the fourth, yet left Staples Center having narrowly avoided the lowest-scoring quarter in franchise history in a 101-77 loss.
Only a 7-foot fadeaway jumper by C.J. Miles with 45.3 seconds left spared the Jazz from such a fate. The Jazz missed their first 12 shots of the quarter and managed just six points in the fourth as the Lakers overwhelmed them.
"It's frustrating that we were in the ball game again here," Deron Williams said. "We've been in a lot of ball games and then they just have one big run where they go unconscious and they did that again tonight."
The Jazz went 2-for-18 with nine turnovers, including three shot clock violations, in the fourth quarter. The franchise record for fewest points in a quarter came in a five-point second quarter against the Lakers on Dec. 1, 1981.
It was anything but the finish the Jazz (12-9) wanted in what was a measuring-stick game. They dropped their 13th consecutive game to the Lakers at Staples Center -- counting the 2008 and 2009 playoffs -- and fell to 3-6 on the road this season.
After facing one of last season's NBA Finals teams Wednesday, the Jazz will see the other tonight. The Orlando Magic, owning a 10-2 road record and riding an eight-game road winning streak, will be waiting at EnergySolutions Arena.
Williams led the Jazz with 17 points and eight assists but Carlos Boozer went 5-for-16 on the way to 11 points and 12 rebounds. Wesley Matthews went 2-for-12 and Eric Maynor 0-for-6, the two rookies missing all seven shots they took in the fourth.
After taking a 63-55 lead midway through the third, the Jazz managed just 14 points the final 18 1-2 minutes. Kobe Bryant paced the Lakers with 27 points, eight assists and six rebounds while Jordan Farmar scored all of his 11 points in the second half.
"In that fourth quarter, they came out and just destroyed us," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "We were hanging in the ball game but that shows you what a great team they have, the ability to be able to get up and make us turn the ball over as much as we did.
"We had a tough time getting a shot off. Their defense just stopped us. We missed a couple of shots and then we lost our confidence, it seemed like. We had some shots we couldn't put down, but they were too much outside shots."
The Jazz missed 14 consecutive shots spanning the third and fourth quarters and went 10:05 without a field goal before Williams hit a 13-footer with 4:35 left. Hard to believe after the Lakers won the fourth quarter 28-6, but the Jazz trailed just 73-71 after the third.
With Bryant and Williams on the bench to start the fourth, the Lakers stretched their lead to 80-73. The Jazz went 0-for-5, with all variety of runners and layups by Maynor, Matthews and Miles rimming out.
Sasha Vujacic, who came into the game shooting 32.6 percent, buried a three-pointer for the Lakers as Sloan called timeout and brought Williams and Ronnie Brewer back in the game.
Yet the Jazz couldn't find any answers. Ron Artest connected on a three-pointer and Farmar drove for a layup as part of a three-point play. At the other end, Farmar blocked Williams as the Lakers forced a shot-clock violation.
After Miles threw away a pass out of a trap, the Lakers pushed ahead with Lamar Odom throwing a between-the-legs pass to Artest, who flicked a touch pass to Farmar for a layup, giving the Lakers a 94-73 lead on the way to their 10th consecutive victory.
"Everybody knows when they get going in this building, it's hard to stop them," Miles said. "I mean, layups and threes is a good way to get down, and that's what happened."
The Lakers called timeout trailing by eight in the third, with coach Phil Jackson opting to bring in Shannon Brown for Derek Fisher and assign him to Williams. They climbed back in the game thanks to a 12-2 run.
Bryant had 13 points and three assists in the third, capping the quarter by driving and kicking out to Farmar for a three-pointer with 3.4 seconds left.
"This is a great team to start with but they're also one of the great defensive teams," Sloan said. "That's what's made them so good, their ability to get up and get after you."
IN SHORT » The Jazz watched a close game turn into a rout thanks to a six-point fourth quarter against the Lakers.
KEY STAT » The Jazz shot 33.7 percent for the game and went to the foul line only twice in the fourth quarter.
Today, 8:30 p.m.
TV » FSN Utah, TNT
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