LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 25: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts during the game against the Chicago Bulls at Staples Center on December 25, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
Kobe Bryant scored 26 as the L.A. Lakers got their first win, a 96-71 drubbing of the Utah Jazz.
The L.A. Lakers lost games that were close in the final minutes in their first two contests of the season, so the team made sure to erase all doubt early Tuesday against the Utah Jazz. Playing the team's third game in three days while the Jazz were making their regular season debut, the Lakers took a 10-point lead into halftime and never looked back, eventually settling a 96-71 win.
Per usual, Kobe Bryant was the focus of L.A.'s offense. The guard scored 26 points on 8-17 shooting and added five assists with three turnovers. He hit 3-5 on three-pointers, helping the Lakers reverse an early season trend of shooting poorly from deep. L.A. went 6-16 from long-range on Tuesday.
Pau Gasol added 22 points in 37 minutes, with nine rebounds and five blocks. It was easily Pau's best game of the young season; after just one more game, he'll shift back to power forward as Andrew Bynum returns from suspension.
Not a single Jazz starter hit double-digits. Ty Corbin kept mum on his starting lineup plans until game time; he elected to start young Derrick Favors and bring Paul Millsap off the bench. Favors and starting center Al Jefferson combined for 12 points on 6-23 shooting (most of that "credit" can go to Jefferson) while Millsap added 18 and eight in 27 minutes.