SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Without having to worry about Kobe Bryant,
Andrei Kirilenko seemed to be guarding the rest of the Los Angeles
Lakers all by himself.
Kirilenko finished with seven blocks and six steals to go with
his 14 points, eight rebounds and nine assists Tuesday night in the
Utah Jazz's 90-80 victory over the Lakers.
The Jazz swept a home-and-home series with the slumping Lakers,
who were without Bryant again as he completed a two-game suspension
for throwing an elbow last week.
Kirilenko disrupted the Lakers all night, but especially in the
fourth quarter, when he blocked four shots and the Jazz pulled away
for their fifth straight win.
"I thought he was playing the wrong sport for a while," Lakers
coach Phil Jackson joked. "It looked like our guys were setting
him up for sets. Some of the guys were just putting it up on there
on a tee or something."
Kirilenko accomplished the rare feat of getting at least five in
every positive category for the third time in his career and moved
the Jazz into a first-place tie with Minnesota in the Northwest
"I like the game much more when it comes with a win. I feel
twice better," said Kirilenko, whose English slips a little when
he gets excited.
The Jazz took advantage of Bryant's absence and returned to .500
for the first time since they were 4-4.
Utah also has its first five-game winning streak since winning
six straight in March 2003, when Karl Malone and John Stockton were
making their final push to the playoffs.
"Andrei makes a huge, huge difference when he's out there, but
we can't rely on him to take care of all of our mistakes," Jazz
coach Jerry Sloan said. "I thought our other people did a good
The Lakers will have Bryant again when they host Philadelphia on
Friday. After falling to 15-16, Bryant's return will be welcomed in
"Without our best offensive player, we've got to play better
defense," said Lamar Odom, who led the Lakers with 25 points and
Better offense would have helped, too. Odom was the only Laker
to score in double figures, and he had twice as many rebounds as any
of his teammates.
Deron Williams added 19 points, including seven straight as Utah
pulled away in the final 5 minutes, and Mehmet Okur finished with
20 points and 10 rebounds.
The Jazz also had 10 blocks and 10 steals while forcing 17
turnovers by the Lakers.
Los Angeles pulled within 69-68 on a jumper by Devean George,
but the Jazz outplayed the Lakers the rest of the way. Devin Brown
made two free throws with 7:35 remaining, Okur scored off a pass
from Williams, and Kirilenko added two more free throws to put the
Jazz up 77-70.
The Lakers got within 81-75, then Williams took over.
The rookie hit a 3-pointer, leaped into the front row under the
Lakers basket to save a ball from going out of bounds, came back
and made a 20-foot jumper, then drove for a layup over Luke Walton
that kept the 19,013 fans on their feet and roaring.
"It's a little bit of everything," Williams said. "Our
attitude, we're executing, playing with a lot of energy. We just
have to keep doing it."
After Utah fell behind 54-46 on a 3-pointer by Smush Parker,
Kirilenko led the Jazz on an 11-0 run to regain the lead in the
Kirilenko made a 3-pointer to make it 54-54 during an 11-0
run. Gordan Giricek added a layup off a pass from Kirilenko and
Okur made a free throw after George was called for a technical.
Kirilenko was one off of his career highs for blocks,
steals and assists. ... The Lakers are on their longest losing
streak since closing last season 0-6. ... George got a technical
with 4:24 remaining in the third quarter for complaining too much
about a backhand to his face by Utah's Keith McLeod. No foul was