Lakers seek to get on track in clash with Jazz

Updated: December 9, 2012

The Los Angeles Lakers were reminded again on Friday that they are no longer the top dog in the Western Conference.

Trying to get back to .500, the Lakers hope to deny the Utah Jazz a third straight victory when the clubs clash on Sunday night.

The Lakers sit at 9-11 on the season and lost for the sixth time in nine games on Friday when they were bested 114-108 by the Oklahoma City Thunder, who got 69 points combined from Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant.

Los Angeles led by a point at the end of the first quarter, but the Thunder dropped 41 points in the second, getting 14 each from Westbrook and Durant.

“They’re a good team and I thought the first half, really the second quarter, Westbrook got loose a little bit, but we fought back and I thought we played hard,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said. “When Westbrook does that, going vertical and stopping on a dime, you kind of just have to tip your hat to him.”

Kobe Bryant paced the Lakers with 35 points on 11-of-24 shooting, while Dwight Howard ended with 23 points and 18 rebounds.

Los Angeles was without forward Pau Gasol for a third straight game because of knee tendinitis.

While the Lakers struggle, the Jazz hope to build some momentum as they have won back-to-back games following a three-game slide. Their latest victory was a rout, a 131-99 win over the visiting Toronto Raptors.

Paul Millsap paced eight Jazz players in double figures with 20 points to go along with 10 rebounds and five assists. Gordon Hayward had 17 points and Marvin Williams ended with 14 for Utah, which took the lead for good in the second quarter and shot 13-of-23 from 3-point range.

“We did a great job of sharing the ball tonight, just swinging it from strong side to weak side and making the extras pass. We got a lot of good looks as a result of that,” Jazz head coach Tyrone Corbin said.

With Al Jefferson out due to back spasms, Enes Kanter, the third overall pick of the 2011 draft, had 18 points and eight boards in his first career start. Mo Williams added 11 points and 10 assists.

Behind a team-high 17 points off the bench, Randy Foye helped Utah log its third straight win over the Lakers on Nov. 7 with a 95-86 decision. Jefferson had a double-double with 18 points and 10 boards.

Bryant had 29 points and Howard ended with 19 points and nine rebounds for the Lakers, who have won 10 of 12 and 18 of their last 22 at home versus the Jazz.