Fox News - Fair & Balanced


                  === Lakers halt skid with win over Jazz ===
 Los  Angeles,  CA (Sports Network) -  Metta World Peace and Dwight Howard each
 scored  17  points, and  the Los  Angeles Lakers came  away with a much-needed
 102-84 victory over the Utah Jazz to snap a four-game skid.
 Kobe  Bryant played  distributor  most of  the night  as  the league's  second
 leading  scorer dished  out a season-high 14  assists to go with 14 points and
 nine rebounds in the wire-to-wire victory.
 "I tried to make a real concerted effort to force the game upon my teammates a
 little  bit and  just have them play  with confidence," Bryant said of his 14-
 assist performance.
 Howard  also pulled down a game-high 13 boards, while Pau Gasol and Steve Nash
 each netted 15 points for the victors.
 The  Jazz allowed their opponents to shoot 54 percent from the floor in having
 their  four-game winning  streak snapped.  Derrick Favors  and fellow  reserve
 Gordon Hayward paced Utah with 14 and 13 points, respectively.
 "We  have  to understand  how we  have to  play against  a team that's playing
 physical like they are," Utah coach Tyrone Corbin admitted.
 Los  Angeles led by  nine entering the fourth and hit its first seven shots of
 the  frame to build a healthy cushion. Gasol connected on three straight looks
 before  a 3-pointer by  World Peace and a three-point play by Jodie Meeks gave
 the hosts an 86-69 advantage.
 Bryant,  who was on the bench as the Lakers padded their lead, had a steal and
 dunk  just past the midway point to make it an 18-point affair, and the Lakers
 cruised the rest of the way.
 The  Lakers came  out strong, scoring 12  of the game's opening 14 points with
 Bryant providing three assists and Howard netting six points.
 The  Jazz answered with a 9-0 run, but still trailed, 26-19, at the end of the
 opening frame.
 It  was a double-digit game, 47-37, at the break, and the Jazz pulled as close
 as  61-58 before  the Lakers made three  from behind the arc -- all coming off
 Bryant assists -- in stretching the margin to 72-63 entering the fourth.
                                   Game Notes
 World Peace made five 3-pointers ... Utah shot 3-of-14 from behind the arc ...
 Bryant  shot 7-of-10  from the floor and  did not attempt a free throw for the
 first time since the season opener. He was one shy of matching his career high
 in assists ... The Jazz had won four straight meetings against the Lakers.
 01/26 01:53:09 ET