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HIGHLIGHT SHOW CAPS 10TH STRAIGHT VICTORY LOS ANGELES - Not at all unnerved at the prospect of guarding Kobe Bryant for the first time on Wednesday night, Utah Jazz rookie guard Wesley Matthews boldly proclaimed he was "ready for whatever" the day before the game.

However Matthews defined "whatever," neither he nor his teammates were ready for it.

With the Lakers trailing by four at halftime and in need of a lift, Bryant took Matthews into the post and scored six points on three straight possessions. He continued his onslaught for the rest of the second half, propelling the Lakers to their 10th consecutive victory, 101-77 over the Jazz.

Seventeen of Bryant's game-high 27 points and four of his eight assists came in the second half, a performance made all the more impressive considering the ordeal he endured the previous 24 hours. He missed Wednesday morning's shootaround as a result of a home-invasion robbery that occurred late Tuesday night at another resident's home in his private gated community in Newport Coast.

If the Jazz were excited to board their charter flight and leave snowy Salt Lake City on Tuesday afternoon, the team couldn't have been thrilled with the destination. Utah had dropped 12 consecutive road games against the Lakers , including three playoff losses in each of the past two years.

It looked as though the Jazz might finally break its LA jinx night after extending its lead to eight midway through the third quarter. Utah, which had won eight of 10, was beating the Lakers to loose balls, outworking them on the boards and doing a surprisingly good job of neutralizing their size and length advantage in the paint.

Bryant launched a mighty counterpunch from the Lakers , draining a 12-foot turnaround jumper in the post out of a timeout to ignite a startling 46-14 run to end the game during the next 18 minutes. The rest of the Lakers eventually met his energy level with smothering defense, Jordan Farmar bottling up Deron Williams, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum dominating the post and even seldom-used Sasha Vujacic contributing a key steal and a three to extend the lead to seven.

The Lakers held Utah to 33.7 percent shooting for the game, including a paltry 9 of 39 (23 percent) in the second half. Williams led the Jazz with 17 points, but the previously torrid Carlos Boozer had just 11 on 5-for-16 shooting.

The highlights came in bunches in the second half for the Lakers , none more memorable than the sequence near the end of their lengthy spurt. Farmar stepped in front of a pass by Williams and threw ahead to Lamar Odom, whose no-look, between-the-legs pass to Ron Artest was tapped back to Farmar for a two-handed flush.

Reach Jeff Eisenberg at 951-368-9357 or

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Added: December 12, 2009


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