Wednesday , Feb , 16 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Kobe drops 40 in win over Jazz

Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) – Kobe Bryant scored 40 points and dished out
eight assists to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a 102-95 victory over the Utah
Jazz at Staples Center. Chucky Atkins added 24 and Caron Butler contributed 23
in the win.

Trailing by two late in the fourth quarter, Los Angeles closed the game with
nine unanswered points to escape with the victory.

“The difference in the game was the last five minutes. We really beat them
up,” said Lakers coach Frank Hamblen.

The Lakers had not led since early in the opening quarter, but went in front
89-88, with 3:05 remaining when Bryant tipped-in his own miss. The game would
remain close and the Jazz went back in front, 95-93, after two free throws by
Howard Eisley with 1:37 left.

Bryant then drove the lane before passing to Atkins, who was open in the left
corner and buried a three-pointer to give Los Angeles a 96-95 lead with 53
seconds left.

“Chucky is a big time shooter,” said Bryant. “He’s made a lot of big baskets
for us this season.”

Chris Mihm blocked a shot and Atkins raced upcourt with the loose ball. Atkins
was fouled and made a pair of free throws to stretch the lead to three with 31
seconds left. Bryant and Butler each made a pair of free throws to close out
the win.

“We needed that,” said Hamblen. “Utah had two guys out (Andrei Kirilenko and
Carlos Boozer), but they still came after us.”

The Jazz shot 49 percent (17-of-35) from the field in the first half and made
12-of-13 from the foul line to take a 48-44 lead into the break. Utah led the
entire third quarter and took a 74-71 edge into the final stanza.

Mehmet Okur scored 20 points to lead Utah, which has lost 12 of its last 13
road games.