Lakers roll to 10th straight win with big 4th

Lakers roll to 10th straight win with big 4th

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LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Kobe Bryant scored 27 points, Pau Gasol had 19 points and 12 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Lakers rolled off 19 consecutive points in the fourth quarter of their 10th straight victory, 101-77 over the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night.

Ron Artest scored 17 points for the Lakers, who improved to an NBA-best 17-3 by holding the Jazz to six points and two field goals in a comically one-sided fourth quarter.

After leading by just two points entering the fourth, Los Angeles held the Jazz scoreless for more than six minutes while getting points from five players.

Deron Williams scored 17 points for the Jazz, who couldn't manage a field goal in the first 7:25 of the final period of their 13th consecutive loss to the Lakers at Staples Center, counting six losses in the past two playoffs.

Mehmet Okur and C.J. Miles scored 14 points apiece for Utah, which managed just two field goals in the fourth quarter on 2-for-18 shooting.

Andrew Bynum scored 14 points for Los Angeles, which forced two shot clock violations by the Jazz during that fourth quarter stretch while getting eight points from Jordan Farmar, the inconsistent backup guard. Williams' jumper with 4:35 to play was the Jazz's first field goal of the period, and they didn't get another until Miles' basket in the final minute.

Carlos Boozer had 11 points and 12 rebounds for the Jazz, failing to score at least 21 points for the first time in nine games. Utah, which hasn't beaten the Lakers at Staples Center since Jan. 1, 2006, rebounded from a loss to lowly Minnesota with a win over San Antonio on Monday, but its fourth-quarter woes in Los Angeles led to just the Jazz's third loss in 11 games.

Los Angeles' winning streak is its longest in a single season since winning 10 straight in February 2008.

Bryant played after skipping the morning shootaround, telling the Lakers he was shaken up after a home-invasion robbery occurred in his family's gated community in Orange County last night, leading to a police standoff.

The Lakers are one game away from completing an undefeated six-game homestand, which concludes Friday with a visit from Minnesota. Los Angeles' lofty record is little surprise after an exceptionally generous schedule featuring 17 of its first 21 games at home, but the Lakers are on the road for all but nine of the following next 28 games.

Most of the Lakers' victories have been easy, with the notable exception of last Friday's one-point win over Miami on Bryant's self-acknowledged lucky 3-pointer at the buzzer. Coach Phil Jackson felt a few close games would help his team's late-game execution later on, and they got another test of their tenacity against Utah -- until the fourth quarter, that is.

Los Angeles had been outstanding in the middle two periods during its winning streak, repeatedly pulling away from its opponents to render the fourth quarter fairly meaningless. But Utah took the lead in the second quarter and held it largely through superior offensive rebounding until late in the third, when Bryant and Lamar Odom shook the Lakers from their slumber.

NOTES: The teams meet again on Saturday in Salt Lake City. ... Longtime Lakers player and assistant coach Kurt Rambis will face the Lakers on Friday night for the first time since taking over the Timberwolves. ... Denzel Washington, Jack Black, Emmanuelle Chriqui and poker players Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth were at courtside.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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