Lakers rout Jazz for fourth straight winDec 29, 2007 - 7:18 AM By Jonathan Raber PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
LOS ANGELES (Ticker) - Kobe Bryant got going in a hurry and the Los Angeles Lakers never slowed down.
Bryant finished with 31 points, seven assists and four steals as the Lakers set a season high for points in a half on the way to defeating the Utah Jazz, 123-109, on Friday night.
Lamar Odom contributed 17 points, eight rebounds and seven assists and Andrew Bynum added 10 points and nine rebounds as the Lakers picked up their fourth straight win.
"We came out and were in a good rhythm," Bryant said. "When you have ball games like this you want to capitalize on it."
It was the 938th regular-season victory of Lakers coach Phil Jackson's career, tying Boston Celtics legend Red Auerbach for seventh all-time.
"That's nice, but it's something I really don't get caught up in," Jackson said.
Los Angeles scored 75 points in the opening half. Its previous high of 73 came during its first meeting with the Jazz earlier this season.
Bryant poured in 21 points, including five 3-pointers, in the first half for the Lakers, who took a 27-point advantage into the locker room. He exited the contest with 45 seconds remaining in the third with the lead well in hand.
"I was in a good groove, my stroke was going pretty well and I was able to get some good looks," Bryant said.
Los Angeles shot 54 percent from the floor and ended with a season-high 34 assists on the way to hitting 11 shots from the arc in winning for the 10th time in 12 tries.
The Lakers went on a 26-11 run in the final seven minutes of the first quarter to take a 15-point lead.
"They got going," Jazz guard C.J. Miles said. "When I say they got going, they got rolling."
Los Angeles continued its run in the second quarter, using a 9-1 spurt to extend its lead to 47-24 at the end of the first half.
Jordan Farmar hit a long 3-pointer to beat the buzzer at the end of the third quarter for a 32-point lead, bringing on the bench for much of the final quarter.
"That was a really well-played game for three quarters," Jackson said. "I thought we played exceptional ball."
The Jazz, meanwhile, continued to struggle in Los Angeles, having won just two of the last 14 road games against the Lakers.
"They beat us about every way you can," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "They came out and destroyed us that first half. They were so good defensively we couldn't get anything we tried to run. ... They had a terrific game."
Carlos Boozer finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds and Ronnie Brewer added 18 points for Utah, which has underachieved thus far this season after reaching the Western Conference finals a year ago.
Farmar finished with 14 points, Trevor Ariza added 12 and Derek Fisher 10 for Los Angeles.
"We came in focused for this game, we've been practicing well," Odom said. "Right now we are confident and we expect to win."
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