SALT LAKE CITY -- Kobe Bryant scored 21 points, Lamar Odom added 16 and the Los Angeles Lakers erased a 17-point first-half deficit Friday night to beat Utah 96-85 and eliminate the Jazz from the playoff race.
Utah (36-40) becomes the first team in NBA history to start 15-5 and 27-13 and not make the playoffs.
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The Lakers outscored the Jazz 52-35 in the second half to win their ninth straight game, and pull within 1½ games of first-place San Antonio in the Western Conference.
C.J. Miles scored 24 points for Utah, which started its 17th different lineup and had only nine healthy players, including one who just joined the team two days earlier and was playing out of position.
The game in all likelihood was the last in Salt Lake City for Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who has said this will be his final season.
As Lakers coach, Jackson was just 10-12 in games played in Utah.
"This isn't in my zone of comfort," Jackson said before the game. "I may just drive down here [from my ranch in Montana] and see a game sometime."
The Lakers were coming off a 110-82 pounding of Dallas on Thursday night but were without forward Matt Barnes, who was suspended without pay after getting into a fight with Mavericks guard Jason Terry.
The Jazz jumped to a 26-13 lead with three minutes left in the first quarter following Miles' dunk off an alley-oop pass from Earl Watson, who had a few words for a Lakers fan seated courtside.
Utah increased its lead to 41-24 after an 11-0 run in the second quarter. Rookie Gordon Hayward had five points during the run, while forward Derrick Favors scored off a baseline drive and Paul Millsap added a putback dunk. Guard Kyle Weaver, called up from the D-League on Wednesday, capped the run with a pair of free throws.
The Lakers finished the half on a 10-0 run of their own, including Bryant's driving layup and free throws that pulled Los Angeles to 48-42 at halftime.
The Jazz dominated the first half, outscoring the Lakers 30-10 in the paint, outrebounding them 28-18 and limiting them to 39.4 percent shooting.
Miles, who had been in a shooting slump, started 5 of 6 and led all scorers in the first half with 13 points.
It was all Lakers in the second half.
Bryant went down hard with 9:01 left in the third quarter after being tripped up by Miles. Bryant then had another hard fall on what was ruled an intentional foul by Fesenko.
|Kobe Bryant goes to the basket and scores 21 points in the Lakers' win over the Jazz, which eliminated Utah from the playoffs. (AP)|
|L.A. Lakers (55-20) «||22||20||29||25||96|
|LAL:K. Bryant 21 Pts
LAL:P. Gasol 9 Reb
LAL:K. Bryant 4 Ast
|UTA:C. Miles 24 Pts
UTA:A. Jefferson 10 Reb
UTA:A. Jefferson 5 Ast
|Players of the Game|
|R. Artest, SF||36||3-9||0-0||3||1||2||7|
|P. Gasol, PF||36||6-10||4-4||9||2||3||16|
|K. Bryant, SG||31||6-14||7-10||5||4||1||21|
|A. Bynum, C||31||4-7||3-9||5||3||3||11|
|D. Fisher, PG||30||4-6||5-5||3||3||2||15|
|L. Odom, PF||30||6-13||2-2||7||0||0||16|
|S. Blake, PG||18||2-3||0-0||4||4||1||4|
|S. Brown, PG||17||3-7||0-0||2||0||1||6|
|L. Walton, SF||12||0-2||0-0||1||1||2||0|
|T. Ratliff, C||Did Not Play|
|J. Smith, PF||Did Not Play|
|M. Barnes, SF||Did Not Play|
|D. Caracter, PF||Did Not Play|
|D. Ebanks, SF||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|
|P. Millsap, PF||40||7-15||2-2||5||2||5||16|
|E. Watson, PG||38||4-10||0-0||6||3||2||9|
|C. Miles, SF||37||8-16||8-10||3||2||3||24|
|A. Jefferson, C||36||7-18||3-4||10||5||4||17|
|K. Fesenko, C||27||2-2||0-0||8||0||3||4|
|G. Hayward, SF||29||3-9||0-0||3||1||0||7|
|D. Favors, PF||17||3-8||0-0||6||0||3||6|
|K. Weaver, SG||10||0-3||2-2||1||2||1||2|
|J. Evans, SF||6||0-1||0-0||2||0||1||0|
|F. Elson, C||Did Not Play|
|A. Kirilenko, SF||Did Not Play|
|R. Bell, SG||Did Not Play|
|M. Okur, C||Did Not Play|
|D. Harris, PG||Did Not Play|
|R. Price, PG||Did Not Play|
|Complete Box Score|