Regular Season Series (Game 4 of 4)

Series starts 12/4

Game 1: Wednesday, December 4th
Game 2: Sunday, December 8th
Game 3: Saturday, February 1st
Game 4: Wednesday, February 19th

Lakers 93

(28-25, 11-15 away)

Jazz 87


    Coverage: KJZZ

    7:00 PM ET, February 19, 2003

    EnergySolutions Arena, Salt Lake City, UT

    1 2 3 4 T
    LAL 25 21 18 2993
    UTAH 20 26 16 2587

    Top Performers

    Los Angeles: K. Bryant 40 Pts, 6 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl

    Utah: K. Malone 25 Pts, 7 Reb, 6 Ast, 1 Blk

    Bryant's scoring binge goes full throttle

    SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A sore knee and exhaustion from playing two overtimes the night before weren't enough to end Kobe Bryant's torrid scoring run.

    Kobe Bryant

    Bryant scored 11 of Los Angeles' last 17 points and finished with 40 as the Los Angeles Lakers held off the Utah Jazz 93-87 Wednesday.

    Bryant has scored 40 or more in seven straight games and has at least 35 in his last 11. The Lakers have gone 9-2 during his scoring binge.

    "I don't really know what it is,'' Bryant said of what's driving him during the streak. "All this has done is help us win games. Maybe when I retire I can look back and see what an accomplishment it was.''

    When he finally does look back, Bryant will find himself in good company.

    The last player to score 40 in as many consecutive games was Michael Jordan, who did it in nine straight early in the 1986-87 season. Wilt Chamberlain scored at least 40 in 14 consecutive games early in the 1961-62 season.

    Bryant, who scored 52 the night before in a 106-99 double-overtime win over Houston, decided just before tipoff to play with a sore right knee as the Lakers were without Shaquille O'Neal for a third straight game.

    "Kobe was Kobe. He carried the load for two superstars tonight,'' said Rick Fox, who scored 11 for the Lakers.

    Bryant was booed throughout the night until the end, when the sellout crowd of 19,911 realized he was about to continue the streak. With the crowd chanting "KO-BE! KO-BE!'' Bryant got his 40th point on a free throw with 8.2 seconds left after the Jazz had no choice but to foul him.

    "I never thought I'd hear that,'' Bryant said. "It felt like the Staples Center out there.''

    Bryant finished 15-for-29 from the floor and 4-of-6 on 3-pointers. Most of his points came from the outside because his knee was too sore to drive. Despite being tightly guarded by Calbert Cheaney and Andrei Kirilenko, Bryant kept hitting his shots.

    "He's the best player in the game right now. He's playing as good of basketball as I've seen in my career,'' Jazz guard Mark Jackson said.

    Derek Fisher scored 16 for the Lakers, who won less than 24 hours after beating Houston in double overtime.

    "If you lose a game like tonight, then all that fighting we did yesterday was pretty much for nothing,'' Bryant said.

    Karl Malone led Utah with 25 points, but also was called for a key technical foul as the Jazz tried to rally at the end.

    After two straight jumpers by Bryant put Los Angeles up 80-74, Malone was called for pushing off on Robert Horry with 3:47 left. He had words for referee Hue Hollins all the way down the court and drew the technical after calling Hollins a name in front of the Jazz bench.

    Horry hit both free throws to give the Lakers an 83-74 lead, and the Jazz never got closer than five the rest of the way. Bryant hit two more field goals down the stretch.

    "We tried to attack Kobe Bryant but somebody would end up making an easy play for them,'' Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. "They competed to win the game. They knocked us around and pushed us out of our offense and we accepted that.''

    It was the second straight game for the Jazz against a team that had played the night before, then traveled to Salt Lake City. But Utah couldn't take advantage as the Lakers seemed to carry over some momentum from Tuesday's 106-99 win over Houston -- also without O'Neal, who is out with a sore knee and toe.

    "It's pretty remarkable what he's doing out there. He takes the challenge of winning very seriously,'' Lakers coach Phil Jackson said of Bryant. "He's going to fight his way out of a paper bag. He has a knack for overcoming obstacles.''

    Matt Harpring scored 21 and John Stockton added 15 points and seven assists for the Jazz, who fell to 2-2 during a five-game homestand.

    Game notes

    Wednesday was the 2,500th Jazz broadcast for television announcer "Hot'' Rod Hundley, whose tenure with the Jazz goes back to when the team played in New Orleans. Hundley was honored at halftime in a ceremony that included former broadcast partner Jim Nantz. ... Utah was playing without reserve forward/center Tony Massenburg, who left the team temporarily because of a death in the family. ... Bryant scored 12 of the Lakers' first 14 points and was 7-for-11 in the first quarter with 18 points. He was also blocked on three straight shots by Kirilenko, drawing some of the loudest cheers of the night. It got louder when Bryant was called for a technical after John Stockton tied up the ball and forced a jump ball late in the second.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 93 87
    FGM-FGA 32-74 (.432) 34-79 (.430)
    3PM-3PA 10-24 (.417) 2-8 (.250)
    FTM-FTA 19-23 (.826) 17-26 (.654)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 9-37 14-38
    Assists 16 22
    Turnovers 11 12
    Steals 8 5
    Blocks 8 9
    Fast Break Points 0 4
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (1/0) 22 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    Los Angeles
    Kobe Bryant Bryant
    Points: 40
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Karl Malone Malone
    Points: 25
    Reb: 7
    Ast: 6
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1