Monday, March 19, 2012
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Paul Millsap scores 24, Jazz stun Lakers

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[March 19, 2012]  LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Paul Millsap scored 24 points, Enes Kanter added 17 points and eight rebounds, and the Utah Jazz handed the Los Angeles Lakers just their second home loss since Christmas, 103-99 on Sunday night.

HardwareRookie Alec Burks scored 13 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter for the Jazz, who snapped the Lakers' five-game winning streak while winning three straight games of their own for the first time in two months. Utah has posted back-to-back wins without leading scorer Al Jefferson, who attended his grandmother's funeral in Mississippi this weekend.

NBA scoring leader Kobe Bryant had 15 points on 3-for-20 shooting for the Lakers, punctuating his horrific night by missing a tying 3-point attempt in the waning seconds.

Andrew Bynum had 33 points and 11 rebounds while making 12 of his 14 shots for Los Angeles, which had won 19 of its last 20 games at Staples Center since losing its season opener to Chicago.

Millsap punctuated his latest phenomenal performance against the Lakers with a driving three-point play with 40.7 seconds left after Los Angeles had trimmed Utah's lead to 99-96. After Bryant converted a three-point play, Matt Barnes blocked Millsap's shot to set up Bryant's tying look off a pick -- but he missed his 17th shot of the night, and Millsap grabbed the clinching rebound.

Pau Gasol had 18 points and 10 rebounds, but Los Angeles committed 24 turnovers -- albeit none in the fourth quarter -- and never caught up to the Jazz down the stretch. Ramon Sessions had 10 points and six assists in his second game for the Lakers, and Steve Blake went scoreless for the second game as Derek Fisher's replacement in Los Angeles' starting lineup.

Derrick Favors had 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Jazz, who relied on simple offensive sets and relentless physical defense to harass Bryant and the Lakers into their worst home performance of the year. Utah improved to 6-16 on the road with its second win at Staples Center in three trips after losing 17 straight road games against the Lakers.

Utah also didn't miss a beat without Jefferson or guard Raja Bell, who has missed two games with a strained hip muscle.

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Metta World Peace scored three points for the Lakers in 18 minutes before leaving the court in the second half with left hip bursitis.

Sessions gave another strong performance off the bench, immediately injecting speed and playmaking that the Lakers have lacked all season long. Although he went 1 for 7 from the field, Sessions repeatedly drove the lane -- something Fisher hasn't done regularly for years -- and earned 10 free throws.

The Lakers got off to a passionless start, committing 10 turnovers in the first quarter. Bryant missed his first six shots before hitting a 3-pointer midway through the second quarter, and the Lakers made a 12-2 run led by Sessions' aggressive playmaking.

Utah finished the first half on a 12-1 run, taking the lead into halftime on Harris' last-minute steal and layup.

NOTES: Gasol hit a 3-pointer in the first quarter, improving his season percentage to 4 for 17. He also hit a 3-pointer from the corner during the Lakers' overtime win at Utah in January. ... Jordan Hill was cleared to play for the Lakers after Fisher apparently reached a buyout with the Houston Rockets, who acquired the five-time NBA champion point guard last week. ... Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Flea sat in the Lakers' radio broadcast. Earlier Sunday, the longtime Lakers season ticket-holder finished the Los Angeles Marathon in 3 hours, 41 minutes.

[Associated Press; By GREG BEACHAM]

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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