Saturday , Dec , 01 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Andrei Kirilenko Stuffs Stat-Sheet, Leads Utah Jazz Over L.A. Lakers

Utah’s Andrei Kirilenko polarizes hoop heads. Some basketball fans hit him with the Euro stereotype: aloof, overpaid, and overrated. Others recognize the subtleties and love how he influences play without taking shots. Whatever your opinion, AK-47 dominated Utah’s 120-96 win over L.A. at EnergySolutions arena on Friday evening …

The Salt Lake Tribune reports on Andrei Kirilenko leading the Jazz to victory over the Lakers:

Absent their two All-Stars from last season, who accounted for some 37 points and 16 rebounds, the Jazz flattened the Los Angeles Lakers 120-96 when they could have rolled over so easily instead.

It was the most impressive victory of the young season, headlined by a career scoring night from Deron Williams and Andrei Kirilenko’s third-ever triple-double.  

Kirilenko totaled 20 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds after narrowly missing triple-doubles in four earlier games this season.

My Quick Take: Utah‘s Andrei Kirilenko polarizes hoop heads. Some basketball fans hit him with the Euro stereotype: aloof, overpaid, and overrated. Others recognize the subtleties and love how he influences play without taking shots.

Whatever your opinion, AK-47 dominated Utah‘s 120-96 win over L.A. at EnergySolutions arena on Friday evening. Check out his eye-popping stat-line: 20 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists, 6 steals, and 4 blocks.

Two plays stand out from Kirilenko’s performance. First, in the game’s final frame, he pinned Laker rookie Javaris Crittenton’s reverse lay-in against the glass. The game was over, but the Russian kept competing on defense.

Second, with 3 minutes remaining, he hit emerging superstar Deron Williams with a brilliant full-court pass. After catching the ball in traffic, Utah’s table-setter converted an impressive lay-in. Tom Brady and Randy Moss couldn’t have done it any better.

Most impressive, Kirilenko and the Jazz won despite All-Stars Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur being sidelined with injuries. Utah is a contender and can run with any squad in the competitive Western Conference.

Change in Attitude …

The 2007-08 Lakers have a more competitive attitude. Last night, with time winding down and the game out of reach, newly-acquired Trevor Ariza checked-in and replaced Kobe Bryant.

The camera filmed L.A.’s bench. The entire team, Bryant included, looked frustrated, angry, and embarrassed.

In year’s past, Bryant seemed to carry the burden of losing alone. Not any more. Nobody likes moral victories, but these Lakers possess more of a collective, team spirit.

What do you think of Kirilenko’s play and the Lakers’ attitude? Get at us in the comment box below with your thoughts.

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