Lakers target first road win at Utah

10:52 AM, Jan 11, 2012   |    comments
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(Sports Network) - The Lakers have been impressive as usual at Staples Center this season but the road has been a different story.

LA improved to 7-1 at its home arena with a blowout win over Phoenix on Tuesday and will try and follow that by recording its first triumph as the visitor when they take on the surprising Utah Jazz tonight.

Kobe Bryant put together another vintage performance on Tuesday with a season- high 48 points, shouldering the load as the Lakers took down the Suns, 99-83.

Bryant shot 18-of-31 from the field and 12-of-13 from the free throw line to help Los Angeles complete an unblemished three-game homestand. The future Hall of Famer has scored 30-plus points in four of his last five games and now has an amazing 108 career 40-point performances.

Bryant's explosion on Tuesday was the highest scoring performance by anyone in the NBA season and comes on the heels of a 39-point effort in a 97-90 win over Golden State last Friday, the second highest.

Pau Gasol chipped in 16 points and 12 rebounds, while Andrew Bynum added 12 and eight in the victory for the Lakers, have won seven straight at Staples Center since dropping their home opener to the Bulls on Christmas.

"I'm ready for the next one," Bryant told the Lakers' official website. "[Wednesday] is going to be a big challenge. I'm looking forward to it already."

That next one comes in Salt Lake City where the Lakers, who are winless on the road this season at 0-3, will face a Utah team that is a perfect 5-0 at EnergySolutions Arena and in the midst of a five-game winning streak.

Al Jefferson kept the good times rolling on Tuesday with a season-high 30 points and 12 rebounds as the Jazz claimed a 113-105 home win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Paul Millsap and Derrick Favors both fouled out, but scored 19 and 14 points, respectively, for Utah, which has won the five in a row since a 1-3 start to the season.

Josh Howard added 17 points and Gordon Hayward had a career-high eight assists in the victory, which started a three-game stretch for the Jazz at home.

"It was tough tonight. But we got the win and that's what matters," said Utah head coach Tyrone Corbin. "We have to get smarter in some situations and we have to get tougher, but we're working."

The Lakers haven't started 0-4 on the road since 1995-96, the year before Bryant entered the league fresh out of Lower Merion High School in suburban Philadelphia.

LA blitzed the Jazz, 96-71, at Staples Center back on Dec. 27 but has lost nine of 14 in Salt Lake. Bryant, meanwhile, has scored 40-plus six times in his career against the Jazz.

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