Tuesday , Mar , 09 , 2004 C.Y. Ellis

All Jazzed up: Utah tops Lakers

Salt Lake City, UT (Sports Network) – Gordan Giricek finished with 21 points
off the bench to lead Utah to an 88-83 win over the Los Angeles Lakers at the
Delta Center.

Raul Lopez contributed 17 points for the Jazz, who won for the fifth time in
six games and snapped a five-game losing streak at home to the Lakers. Andrei
Kirilenko added 15 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks in the victory.

Gary Payton registered 21 points, seven assists and six rebounds for the
Lakers, who had a three-game winning streak snapped. Shaquille O’Neal chipped
in with 16 points and 10 rebounds before being ejected late in the fourth

Los Angeles forward Karl Malone, currently on the injured list, returned to
Utah for the first time since leaving the Jazz, but was forced to remain on
the bench due to a knee injury. He signed as a free agent with the Lakers this
past summer.

Raja Bell posted 13 points for the Jazz, who scored 11 straight points to
overcome a four-point deficit down the stretch.

O’Neal’s dunk, with just under four minutes to go, staked Los Angeles to a
72-68 edge. But the center was called for a technical foul and was ejected
when his elbow came down on a Utah player.

“O’Neal [going out] of the ballgame sort of turned things around,” said Utah
head coach Jerry Sloan said.

The Jazz then took advantage of the loss. Giricek’s jumper put the team ahead
for good with 2:48 to play. On their next possession, Kirilenko hit a fadeaway
jumper with the shot clock winding down.

Two foul shots by Giricek with 58 second to go capped the flurry and put Utah
ahead 79-72.

The Lakers got no closer than three points the rest of the way.

Luke Walton’s layup with 2:09 remaining in the first capped an 18-4 flurry for
Los Angeles, which led 22-14 at the end of the quarter.

Midway through the second quarter, the Jazz took a 26-25 advantage. Bell
capped the 12-3 surge on two foul shots.

Utah ended the second ahead 39-38. Giricek and Lopez each posted 10 points off
the bench for the team in the first half. Kareem Rush, meanwhile, led all
scorers with 12 points for the Lakers.

Midway through the third quarter, the Jazz built a 51-45 advantage on a three-
pointer by Giricek.

A layup by Payton with 3:04 remaining in the third pulled Los Angeles within
53-52. But the Jazz answered with four straight points. A jumper by Bell with
1:39 left put them ahead 57-52.

The Lakers ended the quarter trailing 57-55.

A jumper by Maurice Williams just over three minutes into the fourth quarter
staked Utah to a 63-59 advantage.