Kobe Bryant played 24 minutes for the Lakers, finishing with eight points, five rebounds and five assists after sitting out the entire second and fourth quarters. Bryant, who won the league's MVP last season for the first time in his career, was on the gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic team at the Beijing Olympics along with Williams and Utah teammate Carlos Boozer.
The Lakers got as close as 89-84 on Andrew Bynum's short hook shot with 5:34 to play, but Kevin Lyde capped an 8-2 run with a short hook shot to give Utah its biggest lead, 97-86, with 2:24 left. Bynum and Jordan Farmar each had 15 points for Los Angeles. Bynum grabbed eight rebounds.
Utah trailed by as many as 10 points early in the second quarter before pulling ahead 76-69 by the end of the third. Point guard Brevin Knight, beginning his 13th NBA season with his ninth different team, sat out the first three quarters before hitting an 18-footer 22 seconds into the fourth.
"I'm happy, ecstatic, any adjective you want to come up with," said Knight, who spent last season with the Clippers. "It's a rebirth for me. I'm playing on a contending team. I'm going to do whatever they want me to do. When they call my number, I'll be ready to play."
Lamar Odom had three points and three assists for the Lakers in 20 minutes and took only three shots. Lakers coach Phil Jackson and his staff are shaking things up a bit this season, using the 6-foot-10 Odom as a point guard and the 6-foot-6 Bryant as a small forward.
"I'm handling the ball a lot, and I like it," Odom said. "We've got a lot of people who can score, and it's fun. That's the position I started my career at, and now I'm back to that position. It's hard to put labels on the triangle offense because every position is interchangeable. I'm going to start on the perimeter a lot, but I'm going to find myself a way to get under the basket, too."
Jackson missed the game because of soreness and swelling in his lower legs. Assistant coach Kurt Rambis ran the team in place of the 63-year-old Hall of Famer, who has been experiencing discomfort for the past few days and was examined on Monday by a team doctor. Jackson remained home and watched the game on TV with his legs elevated.
"We don't anticipate that it's anything serious at all," team spokesman John Black said.
Jackson has undergone two hip replacement operations since October 2006 -- the second one in June 2007. He used a cane for four months, including the preseason last year. His nine NBA titles as a head coach are tied with fellow Hall of Famer Red Auerbach. Last June, Jackson got the Lakers within two victories of the franchise's 15th championship.
Sasha Vujacic, who signed a three-year, $15 million contract as a restricted free agent in July after deciding to remain with the Lakers and not play in Europe, was sidelined because of a sprained left ankle. Luke Walton, who underwent surgery on July 18 to remove bone spurs and scar tissue and clean up some cartilage debris from his right ankle, also didn't dress.
The Jazz were missing Boozer because of a sore left hamstring. Matt Harpring also is sidelined due to complications from surgery in June to remove a bone spur from his right ankle. Last year, Harpring missed training camp and the entire preseason schedule following knee surgery.